posted 4 years ago

BMW 2 Series Convertible Review

BMW launches its replacement for their popular 1 Series Convertible with the new 2 Series.

From £29,180
Pros
  • Boot space
  • Premium interior
  • Soft top can be lowered while on the move
Cons
  • Certain driver’s positions make instrument panel not entirely visible
  • Fiddly indicator stalks
  • Visibility blind spots

Introduction:

The new 2 Series Convertible has been added to the 2 Series range which already consists of Coupe and Active Tourer models. It replaces the 1 Series Convertible, where over 130,000 were sold around the world and looks a worthy successor.

On the Road

Roof down with the sun blazing in is what a convertible should be all about, but sedate driving, ambling along coast roads? No it shouldn’t as for the first time in a BMW convertible the brand has added the M235i engine. Giving you that added M performance, the 3.0-litre six-cylinder twin turbo petrol engine produces 326hp with 450Nm of torque giving it a 0-62mph time of just 5.2 seconds. Using a super smooth six-speed manual gearbox, you can really push it to the limit with plenty of power even at low revs, whilst enjoying the booming exhaust note as you get up to speed. Who says driving fun should be limited to a coupe?

A new 2.0-litre diesel option is available for the 220d offering greater efficiency yet with 190hp and a top speed of 140mph.

The 2 Series Convertible is longer, wider and has increased wheelbase dimensions over the same 1 Series variant offering plenty of agility and driving dynamics on the road, even for this sort of model. It really is a solid drive even with the roof down and has plenty of grip as you make the most of the M235i engine. Soft tops can suddenly feel uneasy when the roof is down, but BMW have made sure the 2 Series copes well with the change to the car’s physical characteristics by extra torsional rigidity.

The steering is really precise, the M variant benefitting from Variable Sport steering and combined with the driving modes available through the Driving Experience Control system, you can adjust how you want to drive the car; leisurely and efficient in ECO PRO mode, or on the ragged edge in Sport+.

Adaptive M Sport suspension is available as an extra at £515, the dampers can be altered by the driver depending how firm you want the ride. If you want to get the most out of the car then flicking it into Sport+ mode will get rid of Dynamic Stabilty Control and replace it with Dynamic Traction Control.

The diesel engine is fairly quiet in the convertible even at idle; it’s really only when you have the roof down that you notice the engine noise.

Although not surprising, the M235i bellows through the cabin when working its way through the rev range, which if you’re going for the extra sportiness of the M Performance badge it can only be a good thing. The sound also makes the car very noticeable when sitting at traffic lights...yes you with the lowered Ford Focus, scratched alloys and ‘Sheree’ sticker on the rear body panel, we noticed you and your ‘crew’ checking out the 2 Series Convertible.

BMW have added extra insulation to the fabric soft top to reduce noise levels by 4 decibels in the cabin. A start.

In the car

A round of applause must go to the designers for the interior, it is unashamedly simple yet conveys a touch of premium that leaves you liking it even more, with a mix of chrome accents, high-gloss black surfaces and leather.

Sports seats come as standard giving plenty of body hugging support and comfort and a sport steering wheel that errs away from the usual flat-bottomed ones offered by rivals.

One thing that can be a negative depending on your body dimensions or how you have your seating position, is that if you sit fairly reclined with the wheel quite high, as I do, then it can be difficult to see the lower part of the driver’s information screen set amongst the sporty instrument dials.

That aside, the cabin is very driver focussed, although visibility can be compromised by the roof with a few blind spots. The user-friendly BMW iDrive controller gives you all the car information, media, connectivity choices and navigation through the sleek and sophisticated looking 6.5-inch display screen.

Standard equipment on the 2 Series Convertible includes automatic air-conditioning, Keyless go, alloy wheels, Bluetooth and a Sport instrument cluster...it’s all there.

Driver and passenger have plenty of space, but those in the back may struggle and you wouldn’t really want to be doing long journeys with your legs folded up in the rear. Accessibility is fine but leg room is limited so maybe keep it to children in the back.

The roof can be lowered and closed at a touch of the button in the cabin in just 20 seconds. Gone are the days when you needed to stop at the side of the road, jump out and manually put the roof up as the 2 Series Convertible’s roof can be operated at a speed of up to 31mph. Just don’t forget to put up the optional wind deflector as you really will look like Cousin It...

Boot space isn’t comprised with this sort of model, it is the largest in its class at 335 litres and the rear seats fold if you need the extra room.

Ownership

The M235i petrol engine manages a respectable combined 33.2mpg of fuel economy with 199g/km of CO2 emissions, so will fall into tax band J and cost £265 annually.

For those preferring the predicted best-selling diesel engine, the very efficient 220d should achieve 60.1mpg with just 124g/km of CO2.

Priced from £29,180 it’s certainly not cheap as the 2 Series Coupe is a few thousand pounds less. The M235i we drove started from £36,995 with a hefty options list which included a heated steering wheel, a driver comfort package and a Harman Kardon hi-fi putting it up to £45,820.

Reliability is good on all BMW models so can’t imagine it will be any different with the 2 Series Convertible. The build quality is Germanically high and the interior is well put together so should be long lasting.

Buyers of the 2 Series Convertible will get a 3 year warranty and BMW Emergency Service.

Electronic safety aids on the 2 Series Convertible include Lane Departure, Attention Assistant and Collision Warning. On the car as standard is Rear Park Distance Control.

Front, side and head airbags are on the 2 Series Convertible with ISOFIX child-seat attachments in the rear. As a convertible, accident risk is reduced if its in a roll-over crash using electronic sensors to trigger roll-over bars.