BMW 2 Series Convertible 2017 facelift review
The BMW 2 Series gets a mid-life update, and we try the drop-top version to see what's changed
The BMW 2 Series has been given a decent dose of extra appeal following these mid-life revisions. Engineers didn’t need to alter the way it drove, allowing them to focus instead on in-car tech and a subtly updated look. The revisions will give Audi a thing or two to worry about as well, with the intuitive, function-packed iDrive screen offering the connectivity buyers now crave.
Back in 2013, BMW attempted to distance its coupes and convertibles from the more practical hatchbacks and saloons by assigning them a set of even-numbered model designations. First came the 4 Series, which was joined a year later by the smaller 2 Series.
That simplified structure has been called into question with the introduction of the 2 Series Active Tourer MPV, but the core cars remain – and now they’ve been updated with a selection of mid-life tweaks.
BMW has seen huge success with the 2 Series Coupe and Convertible. Over 180,000 have been sold since launch, with the UK sitting proud as one of the three biggest global markets. The updates focus mainly on the interior, although a keen eye will notice external changes, including new LED lights front and rear, wider air intakes and reprofiled kidney grilles. There are three new colour options, too, as well as four fresh wheel designs.
Inside, every 2 Series gets a new dash display. It doesn’t have the wow factor of Audi’s all-digital Virtual Cockpit, but it’s classy and adds another dimension to the BMW’s luxurious feel. Elsewhere, you’ll find upgraded trim and more chrome on the window switches and centre console.
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Connectivity makes a leap, too, inheriting much of the technology first seen on the latest 5 Series saloon. BMW ConnectedDrive provides real-time traffic information, online music streaming and a WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices. The system also offers a concierge service that can connect you to an operator 24 hours a day, as well as BMW Emergency Call, which can call 999 in the event of an accident. The central display is now touch sensitive and is also offered with wireless Apple CarPlay.
We sampled the revised Convertible, although the Coupe is also available to order immediately. There’s a choice of four turbo petrol and three diesel engines, and it’s the mid-range 220d in popular M Sport trim we drive here.
As before, the 2 Series is a car for keen drivers. Even as a drop-top, the BMW handles with great poise and impressive grip. Our car featured Adaptive M Sport Suspension (a £515 option), which offered a relatively compliant ride in Comfort, and heightened control in the Sport setting. It’s configurable, too, allowing you to leave the powertrain in its raciest mode while benefiting from a slightly softer ride. This should prove particularly useful on British B-roads.
With the roof up, the 2 Series Convertible is as quiet and refined as ever. The petrol engines are likely to offer even more tranquility, but the punchy 2.0-litre diesel in the 220d fades away at a cruise. It’s quick enough as well, with 400Nm of torque arriving early and helping propel the 2 Series from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds.
All cars get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although the slick eight-speed automatic is a worthwhile £1,600 option. Despite using a single clutch, it delivers rapid changes, and is easy to operate via the steering wheel paddles.
And despite its extra power, the 220d is even more economical than the entry-level 218d, claiming 64.2mpg when linked to the auto box. Emitting only 117g/km of CO2, it makes a sensible company car choice, too, matching the slower Audi A3 2.0 TDI 150 S tronic – and sitting in the 25 per cent Benefit-in-Kind tax bracket.
However, the Audi is better at carrying passengers. The BMW’s rear seats are tight and legroom is limited, while those in the back will find their heads rubbing the canvas roof when it’s up.
Click on the gallery above to see more of the facelifted BMW 2 Series Convertible...