Epic 410bhp show-stopping 2017 BMW M235i Coupe F22
With some serious flair, a stunning interior, and a healthy helping of performance upgrades, this slick M235i is a build that really delivers.
IT TAKES 2
Words: Elizabeth de Latour
Photos: Andy Starkey
EPIC BMW M235i SHOW-STOPPING 410HP F22
This show-stopping F22 M235i takes things to the next level with air, OZ splits, a dazzling green wrap and a whole host of exceptional upgrades.
When it came to affordable performance, BMW really knocked it out of the park with the F2x M135i. The price was low, the spec was minimal, and while, in its base form, it was a no-frills experience, it was an all-thrills driving experience. That was thanks to the turbocharged N55 under the bonnet, pushing out a healthy 320hp, which was sent to the road via an unreasonably entertaining chassis that made the car an absolute delight to drive. Two years later, BMW took everything great about the M135i and transplanted it into its F22 2 Series Coupé, adding a few chassis revisions to make the handling even sweeter, creating the M235i. And while we won’t be debating styling here because that’s very subjective, if you don’t need the added practicality of the hatchback, the sleek styling of the 2 Series makes it an incredibly appealing proposition, so it’s easy to see why Liam O’Brien (@ob__.x) was drawn to his. But just a quick glance at this 2 Series makes it clear that he’s gone above and beyond with his two-door tearaway.
The deep, rich shade of TeckWrap Gloss Aluminium Hunter Green chosen by Liam looks sensational on the 2 Series. It also makes us feel like there need to be more green cars because the right shade absolutely pops, as it does here
“I have liked BMW since my dad owned an E38 7 series when I was a kid, and since then, I have always wanted one,” Liam tells us as we chat, and what a great way to be introduced to the brand. Liam’s personal motoring journey began with a Peugeot 306 D Turbo, and his first foray into BMW ownership continued the diesel hatchback trend. “It was an F20 118d. The reason I bought this car was because I was on my way to my dad’s, and I drove past the 1 Series at a dealership. I liked the look of it, took it for a test drive, and on that test, I did a doughnut in the car and fell in love,” he chuckles.
Sensible the 116d may have been, but Liam’s ownership experience was anything but, and he proceeded to turn it into a fullon show build. “I heavily modified the 1 Series. It was wide-bodied with custom-made arches by @sprayed_by_robbo, as well as a fully smoothed rear boot and fully smoothed front bumper. It also had three-piece Style 32 split rims, all carbon and Alcantara interior, Air Lift 3P air-ride, a carbon rear spoiler, and a stage one map with full straight-through exhaust,” he grins, and it’s clear that his M235i carries on that modified trend, but with some extra spice.
When it came to the 2 Series, it just sort of happened, and popped into Liam’s life. “Honestly, I was bored during lockdown, looking at cars and decided ‘I am buying that car’ due to how high spec it was,” he says, and that’s as good a reason as any to treat yourself to a new car. “I bought it from a garage in Burnley, and the condition was pristine,” Liam adds, and while he may have had his 1 Series build under his belt, he didn’t go into M235i ownership with any specific ideas in mind. “I never have a plan, I just wing it!” he laughs, and it clearly works for him.
While this M235i is a comprehensive build, it’s the exterior that really grabs your attention, and Liam has masterfully combined a selection of elements that effortlessly work together to serve up some serious visual flair. Chief among those is the wrap, carried out by Auto Wrap in Manchester. The deep, rich shade of TeckWrap Gloss Aluminium Hunter Green chosen by Liam looks sensational on the 2 Series. It makes us feel like there need to be more green cars because the right shade absolutely pops, as it does here.
We appreciate the attention to detail, which included getting the little fins on the front bumper intakes wrapped. Once you get rid of the other Ferric grey elements that BMW used to indicate this was not just your average 2 Series, they become a bit of an eyesore, so this is a nice touch. The front end is further enhanced by a pair of black grilles, but the key feature is the splitter, a completely custom item made by @sprayed_by_robbo.
“The splitter is my favourite mod on the car,” enthuses Liam, “because it has been custom-made for me, and no one else will have one,” he says with a smile. He’s also added a pair of carbon mirror caps, and at the rear sits an aggressive Ducktail carbon spoiler plus an M Performance diffuser, with the fat tips of the custom Tony Banks Exhausts system poking out. Further styling flair comes courtesy of the smoothed front bumper and smoothed rear number plate recess, while the brake calipers have been painted yellow for a flash of extra colour.
When it came to the suspension, there was no question about staying static for Liam. “I went for Air Lift 3P because I enjoy the show car look!” he exclaims, and that works for us. Of course, air on its own doesn’t count for much if you don’t pair it with the right wheels, but Liam has most definitely done that. “I went for the OZs because I loved the look of the wheel when I came across the advert and thought they would set my car apart from others,” he reasons, and he’s not wrong. He’s running OZ Futuras, which have been stepped up from 17s to 19s, endowing them with massive lips, and the wheels have been fully polished for a dazzling finish. Fitment is, as you would expect, absolutely on point. The front arches just slide over the tyres, while the rears rest majestically between the rubber and the lip, and it’s just beautiful. If you thought this M235i had flair on the outside, just wait until you take a peek inside because the cabin is something else, and Liam has really allowed his creative juices to flow in here.
you’ve got those Recaro Pole Position seats, which have been joined by some Schroth three-point harnesses, and the rear is taken up by the yellow Gosling Racing roll-cage
“Once I had wrapped the car green, the original red interior that the car came with clashed a lot. So I decided it would be best to fully retrim the interior that would tie in better, as well as matching the carbon on the exterior to the interior making it flow better,” he explains, and it’s definitely worked. First of all, you’ve got those Recaro Pole Position seats, which have been joined by some Schroth three-point harnesses, and the rear is taken up by the yellow Gosling Racing roll-cage, and now those yellow calipers make sense. The rest of the cabin is a feast of carbon and Alcantara, with gorgeous gloss carbon trim dotted around the interior, and the Alcantara elements are punctuated by vibrant yellow stitching, with the steering wheel wearing all three elements. It completely transforms what is normally a very nice interior into a seriously special one, and it ties the whole build together perfectly.
The final part of the build that we come to is the engine, and while there’s not much to see under the bonnet beyond the BMS intake, with the N55 being so tunable, it would have been silly not to capitalise on that. Liam has added an MTC downpipe and charge pipe, and a Voodoo intercooler, and then it’s finished off with the addition of a stage 2+ remap from NV Motorsport. The result is a very healthy 410hp along with a seriously substantial 494lb ft of torque, and that’s plenty to be getting on with and means this M235i is far from just a pretty face.
In standard form, the 2 Series is a great piece of kit, and Liam has capitalised on that solid base car to build himself something really rather tasty. It’s got some seriously head-turning style and full-on flair, the wheels are absolutely top-tier, the interior is show-stopping, and it’s quick too. This M235i really is the complete package, but it’s not complete. “I have slowly done this over the three years of owning the car,” says Liam, “but I am still not finished and will be adding more. I’m planning a new colour wrap, a big turbo, wide-body, and meth injection,” he grins, so there’s a lot more to look forward to. While Liam’s car might be green, it’s onlookers who’ll be turning green with envy when they see this masterfully executed M235i rolling by, and that’s the sign of a perfectly executed project.
The splitter is my favourite mod on the car, because it has been custom-made for me, and no one else will have one
The turbocharged N55 has been treated to an intake, downpipe, uprated intercooler and a custom map and now makes 410hp
There are plenty of carbon elements on this M235i, like the mirror caps, and the custom front splitter
TECHNICAL DATA 2017 BMW M235i Coupe F22
- ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre single-turbo N55B30, BMS intake, MTC downpipe and charge pipe, Voodoo intercooler, Tony Banks Exhausts custom exhaust, NVM stage 2+ remap. ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic gearbox
- MAX POWER: 410hp
- MAX TORQUE: 494lb ft
- CHASSIS: 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) OZ Futura three-piece wheels stepped up from 17”, 215/35 (front) and 225/35 (rear) tyres, Air Lift Performance 3P air suspension, EBC discs and pads, yellow calipers
- EXTERIOR: Wrapped in TeckWrap Gloss Aluminium Hunter Green, custom carbon front splitter by @sprayed_by_robbo, smoothed front bumper, black grilles, R44 Performance carbon door mirrors and Ducktail rear spoiler, M Performance diffuser, smoothed rear number plate recess
- INTERIOR: Gosling Racing half rear roll-cage, Recaro Pole Position seats, Schroth three-point harnesses, Exclusive Composites carbon gear stick trim, gear surround, door pulls, heater vent trims, handbrake, steering wheel centre trim and centre console trim, Seamline Automotive Alcantara steering wheel, armrest and iDrive trim
- THANKS: My good friend Dom, over at Spotless Detailing in Manchester, without his help building the car with me, it wouldn’t look the way it does now
The cabin is packed with carbon and Alcantara The interior features a pair of Recaro bucket seats and a whole host of yellow details