Car review: Going topless with the BMW 2 Series Convertible is as liberating as ever

 
Iain Dooley
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The BMW 2 Series Convertible won’t win awards for practicality or power, but it will still sell like hot cakes

BMW’s rebranding of its motors continues with the arrival of the 2 Series Convertible. So, what used to be the old 1 Series Convertible is now the shiny new 2 Series drop-top. Got that? Good, because despite the rather iffy weather, the UK is a strong convertible market for BMW. This 2 Series will fit right in.

It certainly has a family resemblance to the 1 Series, which can only be a good thing. Another good thing is the roof, which should never be taken for granted. Metal folding roofs offer a better all-weather experience but the trade-off over fabric is added weight and complexity. In this case, BMW has stuck with fabric, partly because there really isn’t anywhere for a metal roof to fold into. Naturally the fabric boasts ample sound and weather proofing, while the power operation is smooth and swift – it can even be used when travelling up to 30mph (that might sound rather decadent, but you’ll welcome the feature when it starts raining and there’s nowhere to stop).
So far so good. The car’s cabin continues BMW’s trend for offering a clear control layout, with familiar switchgear and ample space for front seat occupants. If anything, the layout is a little too familiar, especially if you’ve come from the slightly less aspirational, more family-focused 2 Series Active Tourer. A few premium design tweaks would have been appreciated.


Inside the BMW 2 Series Convertible

Still, it’s nice enough up front. A quick glance over your shoulder, though, and you’d be less inclined to recommend sitting in the back. The modest seats and rear legroom mean it’s really only suitable for small children. And once the wind deflector – essential for top-down driving – is assembled between the rear seats, they become unusable. But if you want more space, buy an estate. Likewise, if you want pace, buy a sports car.
Tested in 228i guise, the 2 Series is no slouch, but neither is it a cheetah. Capable of a brisk six-second sprint to 62mph, the petrol motor delivers without ever threatening to blow you away.
It’s unlikely this will be a sticking point for many. Cars like this are often aspirational purchases and looks will easily trump outright performance. And it’s hard not to like the look of this car. The “M Sport” version offers a good balance of clean lines, but if you want a more aggressive look, you’ll need to trade up to the M235i – the genuine performance variant – which comes complete with 322 horsepower from its six-pot turbo engine. That noise you hear isn’t just the boisterous exhaust note but the purists cheering.


Looks will easily trump outright performance

The M235i is a few thousand pounds more than the 228i; money that could be spent on toys such as BMW’s excellent high-end navigation and audio system. Brighter trim and upholstery options do much to lift the otherwise dark cabin ambience, and you’ll appreciate them over the M235i’s extra grunt when you’re stuck in traffic.
The truth is, outright performance and handling finesse usually come a distant second to image and brand capital. In that context, BMW’s 2 Series Convertible is likely to do very well indeed.

THE FACTS: BMW 228I M SPORT CONVERTIBLE

PRICE: £31, 550
0-62MPH: 6.0 secs
TOP SPEED: 155mph
CO2 G/KM: 154g/km
MPG COMBINED: 42.8mpg

THE VERDICT

DESIGN: ★★★☆☆
PERFORMANCE: ★★★☆☆
PRACTICALITY: ★★★☆☆
VALUE FOR MONEY: ★★★☆☆

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