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Auto blogTue, 17 Dec 2013
We were suitably excited when BMW first announced the imminent arrival of the M235i Racing. After all, what's not to like about a factory-prepared racecar with 333 horsepower you can pick up for just eighty grand? Now BMW has released the full details on the latest addition to its racing portfolio, where it joins the M3 DTM, M3 GT4, Z4 GTE/GT3 and 320 TC in a growing family of competition machinery prepared by BMW Motorsport.
Based on the new 2 Series coupe, the M235i Racing is the first M Performance model for the track, and boasts the line's most powerful engine: the 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight six has been optimized to 333 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. A mechanical limited-slip differential helps transfer the power to the track surface, along with race-tuned ABS, DSC and traction control.
Four-pot calipers up front and two-pot calipers in the rear shave off speed for the corner and are packed inside the 18-inch alloys, with KW dampers and H&R suspension components. Inside there's a six-point racing harness and Recaro bucket surrounded by an FIA-certified roll cage, and customers can even have an extra seat installed to take passengers for ride-alongs. All of which can be yours for €59,500.00 - equivalent to $82k at today's rates, before taxes.
The 2 Series is a relatively new member of the BMW family, having been spun off of the 1 Series (itself one of the company's youngest lines) just last year. So far the range has been split between the Active Tourer and the 2 Series Coupe, but soon the latter will breed a new compact convertible to take the place of the outgoing 1 Series cabriolet, and here we have our best look at it yet.
Spied with the most minimal camouflage and its top down while undergoing its final rounds of development testing, this pre-production 2 Series cabrio looks about ready for show time. While the Active Tourer is based on a different front-drive platform, this convertible is, as you might have guessed, essentially a 2 Series Coupe with a folding fabric roof. That means rear-wheel drive (or potentially all-wheel drive if BMW extends its availability from the coupe to the convertible) win either 228i or M235i specification - both of them turbocharged, the former with a 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter four and the latter with the 320-hp, 3.0-liter inline-six.
Considering that BMW got an approximately $8k premium for the 1 Series convertible over the coupe, expect the 2 Series cabrio to start at a little over $40k for the 228i and top out at around $53k for the M235i xDrive convertible. That is, assuming BMW offers it in that top spec, because at that rate we're getting perilously close to the $54,900 base price of the 435i convertible.
The latest BMW 3 Series is pretty new, right? Well it's been on the market for the better part of three years now. And on a typical six-year production cycle, that means it's halfway through its life. It only makes sense, then, that BMW should be preparing a little mid-life facelift, and that's just what we appear to be looking at in these latest spy shots.
The changes will likely be minimal when the revised 3 Series debuts sometime in the middle of next year, with the visual changes to the exterior centering around a new front bumper. New lighting front and rear may also be part of the package, and you can also expect some updates to the interior while those Bavarian engineers are at it. Take a closer look in the gallery of high-res spy shots above for an idea of what to expect.