2014 BMW 2 Series
While large BMW’s undoubtedly have a lot to offer, it’s always been the small ones that we’ve like best. Well one of our favorites, the 1 Series coupe is no more. But take heart, that doesn’t mean it’s gone. It’s just wearing a new name, and with it, a whole new attitude!
By now you should be up to speed on BMW’s naming strategy of even number series for coupes and odds for sedans. Well, the latest to fall in line is the 2014 BMW 2 Series, of which this M235i is the current top rung.
But don’t let the “M” name fool you, it’s not a full on M car, but an M “Performance” model. Sort of a tweener if you will, between garden-variety Bimmers and full on M monsters. Basically, more performance, without any compromise in comfort. It makes for a fun factor that’s hard to top in value.
While the 2 replaces the 1 Series Coupe in the lineup, it’s more than a name change. The 2 has gotten bigger, though thankfully not by too much. Every dimension is increased; with overall length up most; 2.8-inches to 174.5. To further distinguish itself, styling is a bit more dramatic; though still fairly conservative; with just enough Teutonic cool to attract more ironic hipsters and young professionals.
Power in our M235i is from a familiar 3.0-liter BMW turbo I6. We’ve lost count of how many BMW’s we’ve driven with this engine and we still love it. It has gotten some M Performance specific tweaks here that raise horsepower to 320 and torque to 330 lb-ft. The base 228i comes with a still competent 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4.
An 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, as in our test car, is standard; and we found nothing to complain about as shifts are quick in auto mode and response very good when in manual mode. You can still opt for a 6-speed manual, as well.
But, enough sitting still. It’s off to our test track, where the M235i promptly moved off the line with what feels like the perfect amount of power, launching to 60 in an entertaining 5.2-seconds. There’s very little drop off in power as the trans quickly works its way through the gears and to the end of the ¼-mile in 14.0-seconds at 102 miles-per-hour.
A mostly aluminum structure for a typical BMW 50/50 weight balance allows you to push through the corners with minimal loss of speed, and great grip, as well. Suspension design is a double-pivot spring strut arrangement up front and a 5-link in the rear. Adaptive M suspension and electronically controlled shock absorbers are standard on the M235i, with an optional mechanical limited slip rear differential.
Steering feels great both at the wheel and through the chassis. The M235i has the most steering feedback of any BMW we’ve driven in a long time. Brakes, however, not so much. Feedback here is middle of the road with a softish pedal. Still, stops were quick; 115 feet from 60 with excellent stability.
Inside we found a very familiar BMW layout with high quality materials and well done controls throughout the driver-focused space. Yes, that comment even includes iDrive. Front sport seats provide good comfort and support with moderate bolstering. Rear seats however, much less so with merely a suggestion of legroom. Trunk space is actually fairly good for a sporting coupe at 13.8 cubic-ft.; aided by folding seatbacks for more cartage room when needed.
A Driving Experience Control is standard with settings for Comfort, Sport, Sport +, and Eco Pro. Playing with the different modes alters the driving experience noticeably, but Sport or Sport + is where it’s at for us.
But, if this is your first BMW, you might find the ride in those settings quite stiff. Comfort mode helps somewhat, or you can just do your best to avoid broken pavement. No matter which mode you’re in, the exhaust note is great, growling without being obnoxious.
For a small car, it has an overall very solid, almost heavy feel. Not in a bad way; it just feels more substantial and competent than light and toss able.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for our automatic come in at 22-City, 32-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a fine 25.2 miles-per-gallon in a mildly executed loop of driving. The Energy Impact Score is 13.2-barrels of oil used and 5.8-tons of CO2 emitted annually.
At the risk of going all fanboy, we’ll say that the M235i is just about a perfect package. But perfection never comes cheap with a base price of $44,025. The base, and still very competent, 228i is much more accessible at $33,025.
The 2014 BMW M235i is truly one excellent car. No other premium subcompact coupe comes close. It drives like passionate BMW fans think every BMW should. So, if you’re in the position to leave the family behind, it’s an incredibly fun ride. Proof that sometimes numbers can work in your favor.
- Engine: 3.0-liter
- Horsepower: 320
- Torque: 330 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 5.2 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 14.0 seconds @ 102 mph
- EPA: 22 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 13.2 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 5.8 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined