Open-air fun

BMW’s high per­for­mance and ac­cept­ablypriced M235i Coupe is al­ready a mod­ern clas­sic, so is its fold­ing roof sib­ling even bet­ter? found out.

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kentmotors -

Even if you’re a driv­ing purist and wouldn’t dream of sac­ri­fic­ing han­dling pu­rity for open-air plea­sure, it’s hard to deny the al­lure of a sports car on a sunny day with the roof down.

No sur­prise then that BMW has taken its im­pres­sive M235i Coupe and cre­ated a con­vert­ible ver­sion.

It wears the same sporty ad­di­tions as the Coupe with larger al­loy wheels and taste­fully larger bumpers front and rear, while un­der the bon­net you get the 306bhp twin-tur­bocharged six-cylin­der petrol unit. Looks and im­age It’s the ex­te­rior that grabs the at­ten­tion first, of course. With the M Per­for­mance ad­di­tions, the 2 Se­ries Con­vert­ible shape is look­ing its best, al­though from cer­tain an­gles it can look a lit­tle un­der-wheeled de­spite rid­ing on 18in al­loys as stan­dard. It might only be the ju­nior M brand rather than the full ticket, but the M235i has enough pres­ence and sta­tus in its own right to be rightly re­garded as a gen­uine per­for­mance car, and a highly de­sir­able one at that. Space and practicality It might be a rel­a­tively compact car from the out­side, but in­side it’s one of the few con­vert­ibles that can take four pas­sen­gers in rea­son­able com­fort. You can’t use the rear seats if you have the wind de­flec­tor in place and six-foot­ers might grum­ble a lit­tle, but roof-down fun is only en­hanced by hav­ing three friends with you. The boot is mod­est but still use­ful – 280 litres is over 100 less than the Coupe ver­sion, an in­evitable price of a fold­ing roof. Be­hind the wheel The in­gre­di­ents of the M235i Con­vert­ible are just about per­fect; lusty, six-cylin­der en­gine, rear-wheel-drive, typ­i­cal sharp BMW chas­sis and a fold­ing roof for height­ened plea­sure. There’s an in­evitable trade-off in sharp­ness, but for 90% of the time this won’t mat­ter; what gives greater plea­sure is the pow­er­ful turbo en­gine that you can hear even more clearly. Value for money The badge might sug­gest this is some­thing of a boy’s toy, but the re­al­ity is the M235i Con­vert­ible would suit a broad range of peo­ple. For the stan­dard price tag of just un­der £40,000 the spec­i­fi­ca­tion is de­cent, with all the styling en­hance­ments, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and leather in­cluded. How­ever, there are some no­table omis­sions such as heated seats, while the de­sir­able au­to­matic gear­box re­quires fur­ther out­lay, but the stan­dard car will be enough for most buy­ers.

ONE WORD This car summed up in just a sin­gle word: Price: £38,400 En­gine: 3.0-litre petrol unit pro­duc­ing 306bhp and 322lb.ft of torque Trans­mis­sion: Six-speed man­ual gear­box driv­ing the rear wheels Per­for­mance: Top speed 155mph, 0-62mph in 5.0 sec­onds Econ­omy: 33.2mpg com­bined

Emis­sions: CO2

184g/km of

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