Inside, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is coming, with the ability to show the latter’s display in the head-up graphics. You get BMW’s Intelligent Assistant on M Sport trims levels, which includes gesture and voice control, both of which we would happily leave behind – gesture control responds when you’re simply gesturing at the passenger, and voice control doesn’t agree with half the stuff you want it to do. As my colleague in the car said, “The first thing I say to the voice control system is: Hey BMW! Turn off voice control.”
Lovely touches include illuminated inserts that stretch around the dash onto the door – you can choose from a rainbow of colours to suit your mood, although Mercedes does it in a prettier way.
There’s also BMW’s latest 7-inch display, and the digital cockpit behind the steering wheel shows everything, including BMW’s class-leading satnav system as part of iDrive. You can fill the car with optional packs for comfort and tech, until it’s full to the brim with every conceivable safety and technology aid. But mostly, this is a car which offers proper BMW performance but has plenty of leg room for four adults, ditto head room unless the rear occupants are 6ft, at which point that coupe roof line impedes the space. There’s a shallow but deep boot, so you could whisk your mates away for the mother of all spa breaks at the drop of a hat. Which is surely the acid test.
BMW M235i xDrive Specifications
- Price: £37,255
- Powertrain: 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder petrol
- Power/torque: 306PS (302bhp) @ 5,000-6,250rpm/450Nm (332lb ft) @ 1,750-4,500rpm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
- 0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
- Top speed: 155mph
- Combined economy: 39.8-42.2mpg
- Kerb weight: 1,645kg