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The Case for a Practical Sports Car - 2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited November 2015 in BMW
imageThe Case for a Practical Sports Car - 2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test

Cars with 645 horsepower are nice, but they aren't the most desirable daily drivers. For that, we turn to our long-term 2015 BMW M235i.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • I'm sure, that's really where BMW has and does excel. The Viper is more of a show off car. "Hey, look at me". "Hey, listen to this car". I mean, if you want a track dedicated vehicle, you have LOTS and LOTS of options for stripped down, no airbag, no A/C, no passenger seat, vehicles that could probably destroy the Viper on many tracks because that's their sole purpose.

    I wouldn't be surprised if people that buy it (along with a dozen other various vehicles) really don't want to drive it much. I doubt it's a much FUN as you might think.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    This sort of hearkens (Big Word of the Day) back to a discussion my wife and I had when we bought our 2013 F-150. I'm a "less is more" type of person, she's a feature-centered person. I was leaning towards a Regular Cab, Short Bed, V8, Automatic, Split Bench, bare bones pickup. She wanted a SuperCrew, fully loaded, EcoBoost F-150. My viewpoint, it's only me, her, and our son. We rarely have a fourth person in the vehicle. The regular cab would have been quicker, easier to maneuver, less features to fail, and less expensive. We ended up compromising on a 2013 F-150 SuperCrew with the V-8, Automatic, decent amount of features. To be honest, the crew cab works great for storing stuff in the cab, protected. I still think we have more truck than we need, but it is nice to have the option. It's all about compromising between what you need, what you want, and what you can afford.
  • ebeaudoinebeaudoin NE IllinoisPosts: 509
    edited November 2015
    "With the BMW, there's a sense that with some limited practice, you could reach the vehicle's practical performance limits."

    This right here sums it up. Perfect, poignant point Travis. I would much rather drive something like a GTI or Focus ST at 8/10 than drive a Viper or Corvette Z06 at 3/10. My skill as a driver limits me to the latter, and that's okay.
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    A "relatively quiet ride at idle"? One isn't often moving when the engine is at idle speed, and I would think that even the Viper is "relatively" quiet at such speeds.
  • This post seems intended to help out a person stuck at that pesky Viper/BMW M235i decision point...
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    I am shicked, shocked I tell you, to hear that the Viper is less practical and harder to live with day-to-day than a souped up conventional convertible coupe.
  • Every time I read posts like this, I become convinced that Edmunds' editors really don't understand the purpose of cars like the Viper. Nobody buys a car like this to be a daily driver. If you can afford a $100k sports car you have multiple other cars in the garage better suited for daily driving. You buy a Viper for the experience. It is a track-bred monster than can also be driven on the street. Even comparing it to similarly priced everyday sports car like the Corvette or standard 911 misses the point. This is a niche vehicle like a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Frankly, I'm thrilled that some automakers still have the guts to make cars like this.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited November 2015
    Exactly. A Viper is meant for you to buckle up, hunker down and start yelling YEE-HAW! There is nothing fahrvergnugen about a Viper. I can't imagine a Viper owner and BMW owner even talking to each other, much less at the same coffee shop. Both cars are excellent at what they were built for.

  • Nobody buys a car like this to be a daily driver. If you can afford a $100k sports car you have multiple other cars in the garage better suited for daily driving.

    In the particular case of the Viper, that's true. It's not suited for daily driving. And that's the point! But that's not true of all $100k sports cars. I know several people who drive $100k vehicles as their primary or only transportation. Many of them are single professionals or empty nesters who own a Porsche, a car with a rich racing heritage and some cred on track day. Others have a couple of kids and own something like a Tesla or E55 AMG. These are all cars with considerable performance potential that don't feel like someone strapped a JATO engine to a go-kart.
  • I would choose the Viper, flaws and all. Anyone who tries to use the Viper as a daily driver and complains about its shortcomings is missing the point entirely. This is an extreme sports car that should be driven, enjoyed, and savored for the experience on leisure days (street and/or track). I can't image trying to use any Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, etc. as a D.D. either. Instead, I would drive a reliable, efficient appliance suited for that task and save my gem for the best of days. If it went out of production today, I would wager that 20 years from now the Viper would be remembered and revered. The M235i would be revered a little more than a Honda Civic.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    subatomic said:

    I would choose the Viper, flaws and all. Anyone who tries to use the Viper as a daily driver and complains about its shortcomings is missing the point entirely. This is an extreme sports car that should be driven, enjoyed, and savored for the experience on leisure days (street and/or track). I can't image trying to use any Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, etc. as a D.D. either. Instead, I would drive a reliable, efficient appliance suited for that task and save my gem for the best of days. If it went out of production today, I would wager that 20 years from now the Viper would be remembered and revered. The M235i would be revered a little more than a Honda Civic.

    @subatomic So I'm not sure what argument you're making. You're saying you'd take the Viper, flaws and all, and that if you use it for a D.D., you miss the point. But then you say you'd take it, but buy a different vehicle for a daily driver. Which means you wouldn't choose the Viper for the daily driver. As for the "remembered & revered" part...I don't know. The BMW 2002 is almost mythical in people's love for it. The 3 series from the mid-80s until the mid-late 90s is a modern classic to most people. So BMW kind of has the edge in that regard. The only Mopar products that are revered are the late 60s to early 70s and even then, the only people that are really willing to shell out that sort of money for them are the die-hard Mopar fans. "General" gearheads will pick between makes & models. But Mopar guys seem to either be Mopar or No-Car.
  • @darthbimmer,

    That wasn't my point. Dodge certainly could have created a watered-down and comfortable Viper along the lines of a 911 Carrera or base Corvette. However, that would have completely missed the point of the Viper. People need to think of the Viper not as a competitor to those fine grand touring machines, but rather as a cheap, distinctly American alternative to a 911 GT3 RS or 458 Speciale. You would be stark raving mad to use either of those as a daily driver. The Viper is a highly niche beast, but that is what makes it special.

  • @daryleason,

    Anyone who is capable of purchasing a new Viper will more than likely be capable of owning other vehicles in addition to the Viper. It would never be a single car. Assuming that I am a potential buyer and already have one or several other vehicles in my garage, I would choose the Viper over the M235i. The need to use a new Viper as a daily driver and only car is an improbable scenario. In addition, for me, the Viper is the more desirable car for the sheer experience of driving it and the greater performance envelope (I would expect to enjoy some track time with it). The M235i is a very good car, but I am not yet convinced that it will be remembered in the manner that the 2002 or original 3-Series cars are remembered. Time will tell....
  • Exactly. A Viper is meant for you to buckle up, hunker down and start yelling YEE-HAW! There is nothing fahrvergnugen about a Viper. I can't imagine a Viper owner and BMW owner even talking to each other, much less at the same coffee shop. Both cars are excellent at what they were built for.

    Coffee shop? One would be at the bar, the other at the juice bar..
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You also have to know what you're doing to drive a Viper at speed. It's not a car for rookies, whereas a high tech German car can make you drive much better than you are. A Viper can definitely bite you!
  • sonny28sonny28 Plano, TexasPosts: 65
    edited November 2015
    Yup, I'll take that Viper over that beauty salon car any and every day. Who am I kidding, I rock a motorcycle daily - so the Viper would be the more easygoing option.
    '14 Honda CBR600RR
    '15 Honda Rebel
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