2017 BMW 230i Review
Let’s start with the specifications. The 230i has a 2.0L Twin Scroll Turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. It outputs 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and receives 24 in the city and 35 on the highway with a combined 28 mpg which make this car quite fuel efficient. However, when you look at the pricing retailing at $35,000 the amount of options you have in the $35k mark is quite a lot.
Exterior: The 230i has a classic look and I like the dimensions of the car. I like the wheels, but wish the exhaust looked a bit more sporty (you can get the M Sport appearance package to mitigate this) The front end looks mean and classic BMW and I believe sedan/coupe of all the series it looks the best out of all of them (3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 series). The headlights and grilles in the front look good in my opinion.
Interior: The interior isn’t bad (haha I have to start off by saying it isn’t bad) my issue with the 230i’s interior is cheap plastics on the dash and in the center console. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as most entry level cars in luxury/sport brands are not the greatest. This section is probably where it does not add up to the $35k price range. I actually think the Golf GTI might have a case over the 230i interior. Otherwise, everything looks good, the issue is when one starts tapping and touching the center console and some parts of the dash. This 230i was fitted with an aluminum trim which was fake however, it was not shiny chrome that makes huge reflections that make you want to poke your eyes out. Let’s wrap it up the interior is nice, but not up to BMW standards; it is adequate though.
Performance: The fun category, the 230i is fun with direct steering good engine noise (pumped in through the speakers) but it works. It sounds like an inline 6 similar to the E46 M3 (check this video if you’d like to hear a comparison). The steering is direct with not a lot of feel, but very predictable and fairly sharp. It is definitely the most controllable and fun car I’ve driven at the BMW Ultimate Driver event (includes 5 series and 3 series). The torque of the 4 cylinder engine was great. It feels very similar to the GTI and Focus ST/Fiesta ST (probably because they all basically have a similar power to weight ratio). Either way it was fun and responsive with the ZF 8 speed auto transmission that I really like. Also, curb weight is not too bad at 3373 lbs with the auto and 3342 with the manual.
My recommendation: I am not a person that buys into a brand. I buy cars because they are fun to drive not because I give a crap about the badge recognition. This car is comfortable and responsive. I can tell I like a car when it responds properly to my throttle and braking inputs as well as handles steering with a bit of rotation in the rear end. I also enjoy a backseat that can fit people in it. However, let’s list out a few cars you can buy for the starting price of $35k…
Volkswagen Golf R
Honda Civic Type R
Subaru WRX STI
Scion/Toyota/Subaru FR-S/86/BRZ & some mods!
Ford Mustang GT
Chevy Camaro 2SS
Ford Focus RS (minus terrible ride quality)
That is indeed a lot of options and there are definitely more… either way I’d place my money in one of the above rather than the 230i. However, it would be interesting to see how much you can get out of the 230i with a tune… Dinan what you got over there…?