PeterS

First thoughts M235i convertible

14 posts in this topic

Well I've had the 2 series for 7 weeks now, but more importantly for the purposes of this update its covered 2,400 miles in that time so I think I've spent enough time with it to put my initial thoughts down.
 
Firstly the looks...bar the excessive ///M logos on the outside I still like the look of the car, and think the colour really suits it.  Mine's on the standard alloys; graphite grey and fairly non-descript, but excellent at hiding brake dust. The blue callipers are still blue :roflmao:
 
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It was delivered at the end of July, which means that I've had the roof down pretty much every day, bar the last week or so.  I'd estimate that about 2/3rds of the mileage has been covered with the roof down.  It's pretty dusty inside ready as a result.  I didn't order the £400ish wind deflector, assuming if be able to pick one up on eBay for less.  I haven't been able to yet.  But it's not as bad as I'd expected without it, unlike our A4 which was incredibly drafty at speed without the deflector.  I'm still on the lookout for one though, as autumns approaching and if the heating is anything like the AC it'll be insufficient for top-down winter driving!
 
It's been very well run in and I can safely say it's quite quick enough for me.  And although it's a manual, the very flat torque delivery mean it's remarkably easy to drive in a relaxed manner. It'll happily sit at 30 in 5th and still accelerate pretty quickly if needed.  In fact in 'Eco Pro' it'll encourage you to change to 6th at not much more than 30.  I'll come back to 'Eco Pro' mode later... 
 
Of the four modes available (sport +, sport, comfort and eco-pro) it defaults to comfort on start-up.  That means that the stop/start function in enabled.  I've had enough cars with it for it not to bother me, and for normal driving I'll just leave it in comfort.  Sport deactivates stop/start, sharpens the throttle response and makes the steering heavier.  It's what I use if I'm driving to work on the back roads :)  Sport + limits stability control, and I haven't experimented with that yet.  Eco Pro takes away around 300 of the 320 bhp the car comes with, and replaces the drive-by-wire throttle with a drive-by-elastic band one.  You need stupid amounts of pedal movement to prompt any response, and even using on a motorway, when you'd think it would make sense, is uncomfortable because of the pressure needed to maintain speed.  If you go over 75 it tells you off!  Don't bother using this mode, or kid yourself that you will...
 
In comfort or sport, roof down on a summers day, the engine sounds wonderful when pushed, quite a rasp to it as it approaches the red line.  The noise it makes when first started never fails to make me smile...a sort of pop/burble/rasp noise.  The car's small enough to hustle down the roads round us without it ever feeling you're asking it to something it'd rather not be doing...  Now that does have its downside; you can find yourself at some quite silly speeds quite quickly... Inevitably you can tell it's a convertible; ultimately there is some scuttle shake and softness if you really push it, but that's fine by me.  The ride is remarkably good on the standard suspension I think.  Sure it's firm, but not uncomfortably so.  It's a fun car to drive on the kind of roads round us, and perhaps because it's only small doesn't seem to offend other road users. The brakes seem to be up to the job; must be the blue that helps ;)
 
The standard seats took a while to adjust to my ideal position.  Why BMW persist with the stupid levers for both height and backrest adjustment I'll never know.  Maybe they wanted me to spend the £800 on electric seats, but as I'm the only one who'll drive it it seemed unnecessary...  The seat base has an extendable squab, and while adequate isn't anything special.  The adjustable bolsters to hold you in are nice, but there's no lumbar adjustment.  The sports seats in the A3 (leather/Alcantara) are far better.  
 
As you'd expect covering an average of 350 ish miles a week, the cars also done a number of long journeys. This is out of the norm for me, and is not particularly representative of ongoing use, but it's worth noting for anyone considering buying one of these cars who does do that kind of journey...  It's actually quite difficult, or tiring, to drive quickly on motorways.  It's really not that refined, and the engine noise that's so entertaining in the country is really quite wearing after 3 hours on the M25/M1...  Think carefully if buying this car for long journeys IMO. On the plus side, as its best to stay below 80 for your sanity, fuel economy on long journeys is remarkably good... I've seen 36mpg on a 400 mile trip, which I thinks pretty good.  It'll do 37 just trundling around.  Overall  it's averaged 29mpg over the total mileage, which is also pretty good I think. Though if you thrash it you'll achieve much less than that...
 
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Niggles?  There's an annoying creak from the drivers window with the roof up.  It doesn't have cruise control; now I should have noticed it wasn't standard and specc'ed it.  But I didn't and I didn't.  Bit mean of BMW not to include it really, IMO.  Setting up the connected services is more difficult than it should be.  The sensor that changes the media/nav display to night mode is not the same as the one that changes the font on OBC etc from white to red.  So they change out of sync.  And the dash display will cycle between red and white font irritatingly often at dusk / dawn.  All small stuff, but mostly stuff that shouldn't be there.
 
In summary though, I'm really pleased with it :grin:  Love the looks, love the engine, and it's the perfect size.  Fun to drive, works well as a convertible and bar a few silly omissions perfectly well equipped. But if you're thinking of buying one to use regularly on long journeys, think twice... Or, try the hard top which I assume is more refined +++
 
Edited by PeterS
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3 minutes ago, PeterS said:
In summary though, I'm really pleased with it :grin:  Love the looks, love the engine, and it's the perfect size.  Fun to drive, works well as a convertible and bar a few silly omissions perfectly well equipped. But if you're thinking of buying one to use regularly on long journeys, think twice... Or, try the hard top which I assume is more refined +++
 

That sums it up neatly and perfectly +++

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Couple of things I picked up on...

Lumbar support.   I specced it on the 5 because I struggle without it on long trips (I don't use it for the first 2-3 hours but then it helps).  It needs to be standard on all cars nowadays in my opinion and it is pathetic (and penny pinching) that it isn't.

Staying with the seats, I'm the opposite to you.  I didn't spec fully electric in the 5 and I regret it.  I added just about everything else!  The height and rake adjusts electronically, as does the lumbar function.  However, the forward/backward movement of the seat doesn't.  MrsMe drives the car occasionally and it annoys me to have to manually move the seat back.  What's more, I occasionally want to adjust my driving position when on the move.  On a very long run, I will sometimes move the seat back a tiny amount.  Try doing that by lifting the handle up and not disappearing into the rear seats!  I don't do it anymore.  :roflmao:

Still sticking with the seats....mine doesn't have adjustable bolsters and it'd be a little comical if a 520d had them.  However, I would like them.  Not because I drive it hard, it doesn't even go round many corners these days!  More because they do add a different level of comfort flexibility.

Night sensor.  That really surprised me.  I was driving up from London last night and the 5 switches both the MFD and main Nav display at the same second.  It is something that is always entertaining to see happen and it makes me smile how the entire interior of the car feels different under the red/black lights (in the 5 it also switches the door mood lighting on, again in a reddish glow).

Cruise.  I'm appalled that isn't standard on your car.  I would have thought it should be and, like you, I wouldn't even have thought of checking!  I don't use it a great deal on the 5 but I tend to when in 50 mph average speed zones.

Eco Pro.  I haven't used it in about 2 years now!  When I do, I see zero gain because of how economical the car is on my long trips anyway.  I think mine has a fit when you do over 60 mph, not 75 mph, but I could be wrong.  I did find it amusing to look at the bar charts and crap that it generates though.  If I went back to a lot of urban sub-60 mph driving then I'd probably use it frequently.

I really like the look of your car.  I agree that it suits the blue and I think it does so more than any other colour.  I look forward to getting the new-look Nav display when I eventually change the 520d too!
 

Edited by NewNiceMrMe
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Sorry...not sure why the original post is in such a large font :lol:

Re-reading it I realise I have perhaps made more of just how much fun it is - starting it still makes me smile, even after a long day at work. And usually new car novelty wears off much quicker than this for me :grin:

The rate at which the days are shortening have let me make a few more observations on the nav / dash switch from day to night mode.  The actual issue is that the dash display seems to have a two stage night mode. Stage one is that the main speedo / rev counter backlighting gets much redder, but the trip computer font stays white.  As it gets darker it also turns red, which is the same time the nav goes to night mode.  But there doesn't seem to be any 'damping' in the transition.  So on tree lined roads, of which W Sussex has a few, the main dash binnacle lighting switches from all white, to part red, to all red to part red multiple times.  Something and nothing, but once you've noticed it, if you're like me, it irritates!!

I've also discover you can now get a google maps style nav display by just zooming out a little further.  The A3 MMI+ nav lets you zoom the Google maps display the same as you can on an iPad or laptop; the BMW won't let you do that. On the plus side Spotify now works :cool:  I don't regret not upgrading the audio; with the roof down its academic, and with the roof up its acceptable. The road/engine/wind noise means that £600 for HK would have been pointless  

When you look at the price of these, and the level of discounts available, you can perhaps see why some of the things that niggle are there...certainly it doesn't pay to look too closely at the paint finish, especially in normally unseen ares (inside the boot lid etc). It's stunning value for money though I think, given the performance, mostly good equipment levels and general build quality (even if some of the materials themselves are clearly not of 5 series and upwards quality).

So I'm still very pleased with it and have no regrets despite the niggles.  I'd recommend one to anyone looking for a quick, fun, but useable every day convertible.  Though having said that, you can't buy one now anyway.  It's been replaced by the M240i :roflmao:

 

edited to add, part of the pleasure, for me, is the fact that it's manual.  The manual is slower and less economical than the auto, but I wouldn't change that either (a) because of how I'll generally use it and (b) because the turbo 6 is easy to drive in a leisurely manner if you want to because the torque makes it very tractable from low speeds in highish gears.

Edited by PeterS
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There is no transition in my car switching the displays to night mode.  It is instant and often comes as quite a surprise.

I too never opt for the HK upgrade.  I always get the BMW HiFi upgrade but that is it.


I think the proportions of the 2 series cab and coupe are what makes it such a good looking car.  I recall a lot of people questioning the position a 2 series would hold in the range and how popular it would be.  Many thought it would fail - how wrong they were.

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I have to agree on the 2er NNMM, I think they have had to "fit" a few models in due to the natural expansion of the "old" range.

For instance the current 3 is actually (or certainly seems) bigger inside than the e39 5er so they can now squeeze the 2 under the 3 & the 4 between it & the 5, if that makes sense, meaning that they can sell more cars across the whole range.

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They've also established a range that someone, from a young age, could genuinely work their way through as time progressed.  There is something for everyone.  It has been a very clever strategy indeed.

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I will agree with that, even though I still think it a bit confusing the way they sold the "in-betweeners" when they were launched.

"the 4er is now the 3er coupe"...... Oh, now there is also a 4er saloon too????? for instance.

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I think what they've done with the 3/4 and 5/6 four-door cars is nothing short of genius.  Make the 'standard' car look okay, but not quite as good as it could.  Make basically the same car but much better looking, and charge £5/£10k more for something costs exactly the same to make :)

10 or 15 years ago, to get people to spend more on a 3 or 5 series you'd trade them up to a bigger engine and a higher trim level / more options.  But now, largely because of tax but also because the performance of the 'entry level' engine is so good, most people don't need or want more powerful engines.  And the 'base' car is so well equipped that the high margin options up-sell is harder too. So the £5k up-sell from a 320 to a 330 is tough.... But from a 320 to a 420; well, it's easy to see that your 420 is more expensive than the neighbours 320 ;). Turn that into a cost that's 'just' £50/£60 a month more on a PCP and job done!!

All of the above slightly tongue in cheek - but BMW have done a masterful job of taking the brand (and volumes/profits) to where they are today +++

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19 hours ago, NewNiceMrMe said:

Cruise.  I'm appalled that isn't standard on your car.  I would have thought it should be and, like you, I wouldn't even have thought of checking!  I don't use it a great deal on the 5 but I tend to when in 50 mph average speed zones.

Eco Pro.  I haven't used it in about 2 years now!  When I do, I see zero gain because of how economical the car is on my long trips anyway.  I think mine has a fit when you do over 60 mph, not 75 mph, but I could be wrong.  I did find it amusing to look at the bar charts and crap that it generates though.  If I went back to a lot of urban sub-60 mph driving then I'd probably use it frequently.

I suspect this is because it's manual that cruise wasn't standard kit. It came as standard with my Auto 125i

EcoPro, used once for around 30 seconds, assumed it had completely switched off the drive by wire to the throttle and switched it off again.

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Aha - you're almost certainly correct on the cruise control. +++

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We've had our 325d a week (lovely, lovely car); and we are using it in Eco Pro for our mundane driving (school run etc) - and every day get about +25 miles in start stop town type driving. Averaging about 45mpg in those conditions. Everything else, comfort or Sport. It's absolutely drivable in Eco Pro, as opposed to the 3.0biTDI a6 which in "efficiency" mode is nearly undriveable!

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Eco Pro works very well in town or gentle driving conditions, without doubt.

Mine stays in Comfort all the time.  I have probably used Sport mode less than 15-20 times in 65,000 miles. 

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2 hours ago, Torino101 said:

I suspect this is because it's manual that cruise wasn't standard kit. It came as standard with my Auto 125i

EcoPro, used once for around 30 seconds, assumed it had completely switched off the drive by wire to the throttle and switched it off again.

 

Bizzarely, or meanly... cruise seems to be optional across the whole 2 series convertible range in the UK , regardless of whether you chose manual or auto transmission.  It's also in the driver comfort pack (cruise, dynamic steering, front and rear parking sensors) of which the M2xx comes with the steering and front parking sensors anyway.

but I do think Eco pro probably works better with auto transmission than manual!

Edited by PeterS

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