New BMW 2 Series Convertible 2015 review
New soft-top offers more fun and a dose of style than the 1 Series Convertible ever had
An enticing mix of performance and efficiency means the 220d is arguably the BMW 2 Series Convertible to go for in the real world. The engine is urgent and smooth, and the grippy chassis delivers fine handling. It’s also comfortable and refined, particularly with the roof up. On top of all this, it looks fantastic – if you’re after style, substance and low running costs, the 220d drop-top fits the bill.
If you wanted a compact cabriolet in the past, finding one that boasted style, substance and low running costs wasn’t an easy job. However, with the new BMW 2 Series Convertible in 220d diesel form and rivals like the Audi TT Ultra Roadster, the idea of a soft-top diesel sports car isn’t quite so far fetched as it once was.
Style is still all-important in the junior convertible sector, and by taking the roof off its 2 Series Coupe BMW has added a dash of extra design flair – but it’s also worked hard to improve refinement.
The new car gets a triple-layer hood that BMW says makes it four decibels quieter than the old 1 Series Convertible. The changes have worked wonders, as on the motorway the new cabriolet is an extremely relaxed cruiser. Wind noise and tyre roar are kept to a minimum, and best of all, its fully electric party-piece soft-top roof takes 19 seconds to raise or lower on the move at up to 31mph.
With it down, buffeting is well controlled and there’s not much clatter with it up – although you will know it’s a diesel from the outside. However, the trade-off is solid performance. It’s easily accessible, as with 187bhp and 400Nm of torque available low-down from 1,750rpm, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel unit punches the 220d out of corners and through the gears.
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A wide-spread power band and the nicely weighted six-speed manual gearbox encourage you to rev the engine out, and if you do BMW claims 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 140mph.
You can have your cake and eat it too, as on paper the 220d returns up to 60.1mpg and emits 124g/km CO2. This still isn’t quite as good as the TT Ultra Roadster, which offers 65.6mpg and 114g/km – but sports cars aren’t all about the numbers.
BMW’s traditional rear-drive layout proves this and gives the 2 Series Convertible’s chassis a nicely balanced feel, with accurate steering and lots of grip to lean on.
Opt for the £625 adaptive M Sport suspension fitted to our test car and you can also firm up the dampers. Sport mode is just about acceptable for gnarled UK roads, but big bumps do make the open-top 2 Series shimmy and shake slightly, so it’s best to leave it in Comfort for a softer, more composed ride.
One issue we do have centres on the two small rear seats. You won’t be able to fit adults back there, but at least they add extra space and, with the 335-litre boot, give the 220d a useful amount of practicality.
Standard equipment on BMW’s small convertible is fair, with all cars getting a 6.5-inch multimedia screen and iDrive (upgradable to a larger 8.8-inch unit), as well as Bluetooth, DAB radio, automatic air-conditioning, twin tailpipes and 17-inch alloy wheels.
It’s the 220d’s combination of performance and efficiency that means it’s arguably the 2 Series Convertible to go for in the real world. The engine is urgent and smooth, and the grippy chassis delivers delicious handling. On top of all this, it looks great – if you’re after style, substance and low running costs, it fits the bill.