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2015 BMW M235i: Compact fun machine (pictures)

Although the smallest car in its lineup, BMW packs the M235i with a 326-horsepower engine and adaptive chassis, giving it excellent power and handling.

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Wayne Cunningham
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BMW offers the 2-series coupe, its smallest car, as the 228i and the M235i in the US. More variations, including diesels, are on offer in the UK and Australia.

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The M235i takes the place of the 235i as one of BMW's M Performance vehicles, a performance equipment package that does not rate as highly as BMW's full-fledged M cars.

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The M235i shows a black grille and large air intakes up front as part of its styling.

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The M235i makes use of BMW's three-liter inline six-cylinder engine, featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection and variable valve timing.

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In BMW's current nomenclature, all even-numbered models have two doors, unless they are Gran Coupe models.

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The M235i comes standard with an adaptive suspension and variable steering, equipment only available as options on many other BMW models.

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Hard-core performance enthusiasts can choose to delete the moonroof at no charge.

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The M235i offers exceptional handling, very rewarding to the enthusiast driver.

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A wide-opening trunk lid makes for easy cargo access.

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Door sills shows BMW's M colors.

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The M235i rates as a premium car, with a refined cabin justifying its price.

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Back-seat room is limited, and there is no place for a third passenger in the middle.

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This car is shown completely stock, with no cabin or performance upgrades.

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Standard variable steering requires less wheel input when driving hard.

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The plain instrument cluster retains analog gauges, and shows the four driving modes.

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An eight-speed automatic transmission is available, but the six-speed manual is much more satisfying.

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Sport Plus modes stiffens the suspension, makes the throttle more responsive, and activates Dynamic Traction Control.

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Eco Pro mode includes many fuel-saving features, along with a comfort mode for the suspension.

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The basic iDrive controller lacks a navigation button, focusing on audio and hands-free phone as its main features.

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The main menu screen shows a high-level view of all vehicle features and settings.

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The hands-free phone system lets you place calls using voice command by saying a contact's name.

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Audio sources include HD radio, a USB port and Bluetooth audio streaming.

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The music library interface for devices plugged into the USB port isn't very good, requiring too many button presses to find songs and begin playback.

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The playback screen shows album art, when available.

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This interface screen for a Bluetooth-paired iPhone is much easier to use then BMW's other music library screen.

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