Expert Reviews

First drive: BMW 2 Series Convertible

Wednesday 26 July 2017

First drive: BMW 2 Series Convertible

The BMW 2 Series has been an immensely popular car for the German brand, in both coupe and convertible forms, with more than 140,000 units sold worldwide since its 2014 launch. Now, it’s been updated for 2017, bringing with it a raft of new interior touches as well as a few exterior upgrades. There are no mechanical changes however, merely visual and technology additions to help keep the three-door fresh.

Looks & Image

The 2 Series Convertible was never a bad looking car, and a range of new touches have served to bring the model into 2017. New LED headlights are fitted as standard, and these can be upgraded to full LED units for even better night time visibility. The trademark BMW kidney grilles are wider for more impact and the front air intakes are larger than before. At the rear, new LED lights are now fitted as standard.

Mediterranean Blue, Seaside Blue, Sunset Orange are three new exterior colours now available – giving customers even more customisation choices. The car’s range of alloy wheels has also been expanded in a series of sizes.

Space & Practicality

The 2 Series convertible offers a decent amount of practicality.

Boot space is respectable at 335 litres, though this falls to 280 litres when you have the roof lowered. It’s square and relatively deep too, and there’s more than enough space available for a few weekend holdalls or a decent amount of shopping.

Space for those sat in the front is good, with plenty of head and shoulder room on offer. The same can’t be said for those in the back, who will struggle for legroom, as well as headroom when the roof is raised. It’s good for those who very occasionally need four seats, but it’s unlikely to suit those who consistently travel four-up.

Behind the Wheel

Because the new 2 Series hasn’t been changed in any way mechanically, there’s no difference between it and the previous-generation car. However, that’s no bad thing as it still remains a car that drives keenly and provides more than enough entertainment for the driver. There’s plenty of precision to the steering, which makes it easy to place on the road.

Our car was fitted with the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox, and it shifts cleanly enough to ensure steady forward progress. You can take control via the steering wheel-mounted paddles too, though most drivers are likely to leave it in its full auto setting.

The ride is composed and not too firm, which will suit those who aren’t looking for an all-out sports car, but don’t want their convertible wallowy either. There’s little body roll through the corners, and this makes for confident cornering.

Of course, when fitted with a cloth roof any car becomes a noisier place to be, but the 2 Series Convertible isn’t as bad as you may expect. Of course, there’s a significant increase in audible road noise, but it’s not intrusive. The roof can also be lowered or raised at speeds of up to 31mph.

Value for Money

Prices for the 2 Series Convertible start at £27,540 for the 218i in SE spec.

Even these cars get 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity. Our test car was a 220d in M Sport trim, and this weighs in at a hefty £33,640. That said, these cars do receive 18-inch alloy wheels, a full M Sport aerodynamic bodystyle package and dual chrome tailpipes. It’s the pick of the bunch if you’re after plenty of standard equipment as well as sportier looks and handling – these cars get lowered M Sport suspension, too.

A new optional extra is wireless Apple CarPlay. This allows for seamless smartphone integration without having to plug the phone into the car’s system via USB – something that hasn’t been frequently seen. It works exceptionally well, and can be controlled via either the car’s touchscreen display or through the central iDrive rotary controller.

Who would buy one ?

The 2 Series Convertible is a great choice for those who want decent amounts of performance and economy, wrapped up in a good looking and relatively practical package. Yes, it’s not ideal for those who want to travel frequently with passengers in the rear seats, but that’s part of the deal when owning a convertible. This update has refreshed the 2 Series just enough to bring it into line with rivals, as well as making it a more appealing prospect than ever before.

Facts at a Glance

Model: BMW 220d Convertible

Base price: £31,640

Engine tested: 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel

Power: 188bhp

Torque: 400Nm

Max speed: 139mph

0-60mph: 7.5seconds

MPG: 65.7mpg

Emissions: 113g/km

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