The first rule you learn about playing hide-and-seek is to wait until the seeker is out of sight before you move on to your next position. That feeling comes back to us as we're sitting in the Dinan-tuned 2015 BMW M235i on the twisty stretch of Route 152 near Gilroy, CA. Construction restricts the road to one lane before opening up to five miles of uninterrupted switchbacks. A local tipped us off to pull over and wait for traffic to clear, guaranteeing an open road and no risk of law enforcement seeking us out. Our first turn behind the wheel of the Dinan M235i started just a few miles north at the tuner's engineering and development center, located in an unassuming office park south of San Jose. Dinan conversions are known for being simultaneously subtle and awesome; an enhancement of products that already stand out in their respective classes. Dinan obtains its R&D cars through consumer channels, unlike some tuners that get early access to BMW's engineering for their own development projects. The development process is "reverse engineering," as technical director Casper van der Schoot describes it. Some development cars also come to Dinan through the generosity of its owner fan base. Customers hand over personal vehicles in exchange for discounted products. An M2 is already on order, and the Dinan engineers are on the edge of their seats waiting to take it apart. The Dinan treatment of the M235i increases performance without reinventing the dynamically sound package. As with other Dinan cars, the treatment on the M235i increases performance without reinventing the dynamically sound package. Approved dealers can install the Dinan parts, as can "anyone with a modest amount of technical aptitude," according to van de Schoot. Dinan's approach is to extract more of the best aspects of BMW products before supplanting stock parts with its own. That's why the M235i, like all Dinan products, comes with the eponymous Dinantronics engine control unit that remaps and finds more power from the stock inline-six-cylinder engine. A bespoke carbon-fiber cold air intake and stainless steel free-flow exhaust system add at least 15 more horsepower. The most significant alterations in the M235i's engine bay are a Dinan-rebuilt turbocharger and larger intercooler, which help increase total output beyond 440 horsepower. At this point you might wonder if all this untapped capacity is at BMW's disposal from the start, why does it take Dinan to release it? According to van der Schoot, it boils down to the average customer's need – or lack thereof – for raw, unadulterated power. Dinan is, "catering to a customer who doesn't necessarily drive a Mini unless he has an M5 alongside it." The same line of thinking explains why Dinan has yet to alter BMW's i products, including the exotic i8, though van der Schoot admits that it's "inevitable that we'll work on a hybrid BMW" at some point. A deep burble from the free-flowing exhaust pipes that makes the inline-six sound sweet and crackly. The M235i in …
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|MPG||21 City / 32 Hwy|
|Transmission||8-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||320 @ 5800 rpm|
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