So, last night I had the opportunity to drive both the M235i and the 228i. While we all have seen the reviews on the M235i the 228 has been awfully silent. I thought I would post short (first) review of the car based on my own opinion. That being said others may disagree which is fine feel free.
The first car I drove was the M235i Automatic, the car as the base M235i with few extras not that any car with the M badge is base. This allowed me to set a baseline to compare the “lesser” car, the 228i.
The 228i also came with a automatic gearbox, making this a fair comparison. The 228i also had leather power seats, cold weather package and the premium package.
The interior was the standard BMW fare, well built, efficient and made of quality materials. The new control layout was more complex than what I am used to in my e92 however those with iDrive will be right at home. I will say after driving the M car, if you can, get the Msport pack, it really does add some nice to have items including the M steering wheel, gauges and black headliner.
After driving both cars (aggressively) on a windy road with some hard stops and hard accelerations. I have to say there is some improved quickness with the M235i over the 228i. However that being said the 228i is not that much slower. It feels as if the 80HP is eaten up somewhat by the weight of the M235i.
Handling however is a different story. The 228i just feels off, not as planted, the M suspension makes a huge difference (again get the Msport if you can.).
Over all I would say that while nice the M235i at this point is not worth the premium over the 228i as a daily driver (track car or weekend road warrior may be different) the biggest gap is in the handling which can be replicated with the M sport package. Besides, 80hp is obtainable for far less than the premium that is being charged for the M235i.