I'll Take the Audi Instead - 2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited November 2015 in BMW
imageI'll Take the Audi Instead - 2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test

The 2015 BMW M235i is an excellent, rigid two-door available as a coupe or convertible that shines when the road gets twisty. But with a price tag on the near side of $60,000, our former long-term Audi A3 would do just fine instead.

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  • desmoliciousdesmolicious Member Posts: 671
    With that kind of reasoning you could have replaced the Audi with a Honda Accord. All I got out of it is the Audi is bigger and cheaper.
  • mercedesfanmercedesfan Member Posts: 365
    For me the decision would be perfectly easy: DCT + turbo-4 = Nope. The A3 is a fine car, but the notable lag in around town driving is a total non-starter for me if there is a more refined option elsewhere.
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 17,242
    I'd consider an Audi, but the Louisville area Audi dealers refuse to hire techs with opposable thumbs.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2020 C43; 2021 Sahara 4xe 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i; 2018 330i xDrive

  • hacefriohacefrio Member Posts: 29
    @desmolicious: are the A3 and Accord really competing for the same buyer?
  • thepuffthepuff Member Posts: 87
    The thing with the Audi is, in the back of your mind you have to wonder what VW did to screw with the emissions, performance, engine, etc...Can we really trust them that what you paid for is what you got.
  • vvkvvk Member Posts: 196
    Wouldn't it be better to compare against the A3 Cabrio?
  • darthbimmerdarthbimmer Member Posts: 606
    Comparing rear seat and trunk space between a convertible on the one hand and a sedan on the other isn't a particularly useful comparison. Having a convertible top always forces compromises in those two areas. Is the A3 convertible any roomier than the 228/235?
  • lbt1972lbt1972 Member Posts: 1
    I spent alot of time looking at both the BMW M235 and 228i convertible versus the A3 convertible last spring, and have a few thoughts: 1) The BMWs were both much better drivers cars, and I was surprised by the power of the 228. The Audi was good, but felt less 'connected' overall. If I was carving canyons every day, I would pick the BMW hands down, but the Audi would work great for my commute on ATL highways and occasional canyon carving. 2) The base price of the M235 and 228 were comparable to the A3 convertible, starting in the high $30s or low $40s, but every 2 series you find in dealer stock is basically loaded, and priced between $50-58k. 3) A3 sales seem to struggle for some reason - when I was looking in May, they were offering 10% off MSRP on 2015 models and most of those cars are still sitting on the lot 6 months later. 4) As the writer suggests, the 2 series back seat is basically a place for small children and cargo. The A3 convertible back seat seemed usable for adults, at least around town. 5) After all that reasearch, I went with a used 2013 A5... depreciation is my friend. :-)
  • hacefriohacefrio Member Posts: 29
    @lbt1972: welcome. Nice insights, thanks for sharing. I can see what you mean about the BMW feeling more connected. To me the difference is in the BMW's mass and steering, which to me makes it feel more planted. There's a lightness to the Audi, both good and bad. Nice call on the A5!
  • vvkvvk Member Posts: 196
    hacefrio, what makes it more planted is its RWD platform with the engine on top of or behind the front axle for excellent weight distribution and reduced moment of inertia. Audi is just a FWD platform VW with a transversely mounted engine in front of the front axle.
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Member Posts: 1,021
    Well I would rather have a chocolate malt than an Absolut on the rocks
  • darthbimmerdarthbimmer Member Posts: 606
    Thanks for your insights, @lbt1972. My 135 convertible is getting to the age where I'd like to replace it, and your comparison is exactly the kind I'll have to make soon for myself. Similar to your outcome, I won't be surprised if I land in a lightly used A5 or S5 convertible.
  • bassracerxbassracerx Member Posts: 188
    why not a Z4? do those rear seats really offer any function?
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