BMW M235i xDrive Review | BMW’s bite-sized M Sport | Finder

BMW M235i xDrive review

BMW’s bite-sized M Sport 4-door Gran Coupé reviewed

BMW M235i Review

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Representing BMW’s first crack at the small 4-door coupe market, the 2 series Gran Coupés take aim at the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 and Audi A3 Sedan. The vehicle you are looking at here is the top-of-the-line BMW M235i Gran Coupé. Not only does it wear M-branded upgrades, it also features the xDrive system sending power to all four wheels.

Prices start at $69,990 for the M-series but there is also a 218i model available that is a bit more wallet-friendly, starting at $47,990.

Before we get on with this review, it is worth noting that you should stay tuned as we will have a review on the 218i shortly, and will be able to conclusively tell you where our money would go!

What’s the BMW M235i like inside?

The interior is distinctly BMW and it now seems to be almost uniform across the entire range. 

As always, you get a high standard of fit and finish throughout the cabin, with the headline being BMW’s well-known dash layout, as well as the iDrive system sitting atop your climate control system. An infotainment display measures 10.25 inches and while there is the normal iDrive rotary dial control, it’s also touch-enabled.

The system comes fitted with Apple Carplay – no Android yet, but BMW says it’s incoming. The 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is a strong performer. In fact, there are more speakers in this car than in my entire house.

Ambient lighting around the cabin is a bit of a novelty too, with six selectable colours – it helps light the cabin up without being too distracting.

Behind the leather wrapped steering wheel, (which is heated as the “Comfort Package” option was checked when they bolted this one together), sits another digital screen measuring 10.25 inches. It pairs up with a crystal clear head-up display projecting all sorts of information on to the windshield to keep you updated.

Now, for a smaller vehicle, there is a decent amount of legroom in the back, but not enough for anyone above six-feet to be all that comfortable. With the driver's seat in my driving position, my knees needed to go either side of the seat back, with my right knee squished in between the door trim and driver’s seat.

BMW M235i xDrive Interior review

And while you would opt for a larger vehicle if you had older kids, if one of my mates showed up in this and I knew I’d have to sit in the back, I wouldn’t be too happy about it.

Our test vehicle came fitted with the sunroof too which didn’t help things as it does impact on  headroom. But if you are only carting around kids in the back, then you should be fine.

What’s it like to drive?

The M235i reviewed here received BMW’s xDrive system, with power being sent to all wheels with impressive results.

It is matched up with a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine which puts out 225KW of power and 450Nm of torque. The M235i has a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission which shifts smoothly and when driven with a bit more enthusiasm, produces a solid thud and crack on upshifts. 

4.9 seconds to 100 km/h is the end product and it will do it with little wheel-spin too. It is actually the most powerful 2-litre, 4-pot the German brand has produced to date.

There is a nice exhaust note produced by the powerplant too, which will emit the occasional crackle on startup and on shifts.

You’ll get to enjoy all of this from a nice driving position. Slung down low and with the peace of mind knowing that the xDrive system is controlling power to each wheel, you get a good sense of confidence going in and out of corners.

Steering is light and lacks some feeling, but for the average punter around the city, where the vast majority of these will reside, it’s not going to be noticeable. On the plus side, light steering mixed with a range of parking sensors and good resolution reversing camera means it is a cinch to park in tight spaces.

BMW M235i xDrive review

Having the M-package fitted to it means that you get upgraded to downsized, 18-inch wheels from the standard 19s which helps to soften up the ride a bit.

What extras are fitted to this M235i?

M Performance package – $2,200

  • Kidney grille frame and mesh in black high-gloss
  • Mirror caps finished in black
  • Tailpipes finished in black
  • 18-inch M light alloy wheels V-spoke style 554M, forged

Comfort package – $1,200

  • Seat heating for driver and front passenger
  • Lumbar support for driver and front passenger
  • Steering wheel heating

Enhancement package – $3,770

  • Metallic paintwork
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • Active cruise control with stop and go function

What safety features are fitted to the BMW M235i xDrive?

While the BMW M235i Gran Coupé has a strong safety offering, it is a little disappointing to see that full AEB (autonomous emergency braking) is only an option on a $69,000+ car. 

With the standard system, the M235i Gran Coupé will warn you and slow you, but it won’t bring you to a halt, even if that is needed.

If you tick the $850 option for the AEB, you will also get adaptive cruise control which, arguably, should be standard on a vehicle at this price. Or you can go a step further and order the enhancement pack for $3,770.

BMW M235i Review

Moving on from the above, you get six airbags to protect you and your passengers including curtain airbags across both rows as well as head and side airbags for those in the front.

Other safety features include:

  • Driving assistant
    • Approach control warning
    • Lane departure warning
    • Pedestrian warning
    • Light city braking function and attentiveness assistant
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rear view camera  
  • Cruise control
  • Run flat tyres
  • Intelligent emergency call
  • Speed sign recognition and information

How practical is the BMW M235i xDrive?

Apart from the rear legroom issue we mentioned (which may or may not be an issue depending on who you are regularly carting around), the M235i is decently practical.

There are cup holders for all passengers and door storage, as well as USB-C charging points for rear passengers.

The rear row also features ISOFix mounting points on the two outboard seats.

BMW M235i boot space 

Boot space on the BMW M235i measures a decent 430-litres. 

How does this compare to competitors you may ask? Well, the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 offers up more room with 460-litres, while the Beemer edges the Audi A3 sedan, which has 425-litres of storage space.

The verdict

While the BMW M235i xDrive is a sharp, sporty little Gran Coupé, buying one is really going to come down to personal preference. If you are specifically after a smaller vehicle with plenty of punch, then this fits the bill. However, it is hard to look past the value of the BMW 330i Touring M-Sport we reviewed a little while back which offers up more storage space, room for passengers and some decent performance to boot.

Bookmark our car reviews page and check back shortly, as we have plenty of car reviews coming, including the 218i.

Compare some options to finance a BMW M235i xDrive

Data updated regularly
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Monthly Repayment View Details CTA
Plenti Car Loan
From
4.89%
(fixed)
5.44%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
Loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
From
4.67%
(fixed)
5.22%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
IMB New Car Loan
4.99%
(fixed)
5.34%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From
3.85%
(fixed)
4.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.85% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.91% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.85% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.91% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

NRMA New Car Loan
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From
4.74%
(fixed)
5.01%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

RACV New Car Loans
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
From
6.99%
(fixed)
7.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% (13.56% comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% (13.56% comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From
5.35%
(fixed)
5.65%
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan
6.79%
(fixed)
7.16%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
Latitude Personal Loan (Secured)
From
5.99%
(fixed)
7.26%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.99% p.a. and 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Lock in a competitive fixed rate when you offer security. Loan can be used for any purpose and repayments are flexible. You can check your interest rate before applying with no impact to your credit score.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.99% p.a. and 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Lock in a competitive fixed rate when you offer security. Loan can be used for any purpose and repayments are flexible. You can check your interest rate before applying with no impact to your credit score.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From
4.05%
(fixed)
5.63%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.05% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.05% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
SocietyOne Car Loan
From
6.99%
(fixed)
6.99%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
Driva Car Loan
From
3.95%
(fixed)
5.1%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.95% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.95% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.
NRMA Used Car Loan
From
6.49%
(fixed)
7.19%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.49% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.49% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Symple Loans Personal Loan
From
5.75%
(variable)
6.47%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
People's Choice CU Discounted Personal Loan (Car Loan)
From
4.65%
(fixed)
4.99%
Borrow over $20,000 and secure with a new or used car less than 2 years (manufacture year 2018).
Pre-approval, no monthly fees and fixed rate for 5 years.
Borrow over $20,000 and secure with a new or used car less than 2 years (manufacture year 2018).
Pre-approval, no monthly fees and fixed rate for 5 years.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Compare car insurance side-by-side and get quotes

Data updated regularly
Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost plus you will get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2020 Award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement. You can also save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up by 2 May 2021, you can earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.
ahm Comprehensive
Optional
Both
Finder's summary: ahm comprehensive car insurance lets you choose higher excess to reduce your premiums plus you can get up to 15% off when you purchase a new car insurance policy. T&Cs apply. Additionally, their Fixed Kilometre Plan can save you up to 30% compared to their standard comprehensive cover.

Who it might be good for: People who drive less than 15,000 km per year.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs Apply.
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Want to read more car reviews? Check out our car reviews section, or, if you already know what you are after, it might be worth comparing car loan options as well as car insurance to see how much you could save..

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