Thursday, October 2, 2014

BMW coupe combines German engineering, hot rod pop

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – I know it’s time to be moving on into the 2015 model year, but while there’s still time left in 2014, let me tell you about the 2014 BMW M235i coupe.

BMW rolled this one out for the 2014 model year, and for those paying attention and snapping them up, the coupe is an excellent ride.

Think German engineering with an all-America hot rod rush.

The tester was sporty-looking with just enough understatement to give it that BMW elegance.  You expect it to respond well off the line and go up through the eight-speed gearbox with seat-pressing enthusiasm.

And you’re not disappointed.

The 3-liter, six-cylinder power plant rated at 320 horsepower performed like a boss.  Even more impressive was how it tamed the road surface at high speed.

My M235i ripped through sharp corners taken at 70 miles per hour like it was a Disney park monorail.  The ride was soft and buttery, but I felt glued to my seat when the BMW frame held the line on twisting stretches of road.

Steering was firm and easy.  I never felt anything nearing a loss of control, even when I was seeking that out.

Here’s a bonus: the 2 Series coupe is larger all the way around that its BMW 1 Series predecessor.  Interior comfort was top-drawer for driver and passengers.

The list of standard perks was entirely appropriate for a car starting at $43,100.  That included a moonroof, retractable headlight washers and a ton of safety features.

My ride was dressed up to a nearly obscene level with a $2,300 Premium Package and a $2,150 Technology Package.  Suffice it to say that I was overloaded with luxury, performance-enhancing technology and navigation/communication extras … all for a bottom line of $49,025.

Alas, I have some gripes.

The automatic engine stop/start feature that drops the engine to a fuel-saving shutdown mode when the car is stopped at a traffic light or in gridlock conditions was jarring.  Even though I knew it was there, I perpetually felt like the car had stalled completely.  A couple times, there was a slight, but annoying lag in power steering once the engine powered up to full-operation mode.

And for whatever reason, the automatic climate control feature in the tester didn’t feel like it was keeping up with reality.  Setting it on an interior temperature goal of 70 degrees felt more like 74 or 75.  Obviously, I could compensate accordingly.

Bottom line: This coupe is a “B-plus” ride all the way, and the early word is that BMW had fixed and improved things with some tweaks for the 2015 model year.

That might just push the overall grade over the “A” threshold.

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