In-depth reviews

BMW 2 Series Convertible review

BMW 2 Series convertible replaced the old 1 Series soft-top with more pace, efficiency and style

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£28,445 to £42,540
  • Good looking
  • Fun to drive
  • Solid build
  • Tiny rear seats
  • Expensive to buy
  • Feels a little dated

If you're after a small four-seater convertible, you can't go far wrong with the BMW 2 Series. It looks good, has a strong range of engines and is nearly as fun to drive as the coupe model it's based on. It's pricey, but so are all of its rivals – this is a class of car where buyers are happy to shell out that bit extra to get that luxury of the folding roof.

Style is a very important factor in the compact cabriolet sector, and the BMW 2 Series Convertible is among the most desirable models on sale. A selection of mid-life updates in 2017 made it a stronger rival than ever for the Audi A3 Cabriolet, too.

This new-found sense of style doesn’t detract from the driving experience, though, as the 2 Series Convertible is still great fun to drive. There’s bags of grip on offer, plenty of feedback from the chassis and a reasonably comfortable ride that makes it an impressive all-rounder.

Petrol engines range from the basic three-cylinder 218i, through the four-cylinder 220i and 230i, up to the flagship M240i. The diesel line-up is almost as extensive, with a 218d and 220d on offer. All offer reasonable running costs (aside from the M240i), while most of the higher-spec engines get a slick-shifting auto box as standard. While xDrive all-wheel drive is available on the Coupe, it's not even an option on the Convertible.

• Best convertibles on the market

Rivals include everything from the Audi A3 Convertible, through to the Porsche 718 Boxster and Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet. Buyers might also be interested in the two-seat Audi TT Roadster.

To improve the 2 Series Convertible’s handling over its 1 Series predecessor, BMW added extra strengthening. As a result, the body shell is around 20 per cent stiffer than before, meaning body wobble is kept to a minimum, again aiding performance and refinement.

Practicality isn’t too bad for a small convertible, with a good sized boot and two small rear seats to offer extra space. Most of the interior is carried over from the 2 Series Coupe, in fact, meaning the Convertible is a comfortable cruiser, helped by a new triple-layer insulated roof that keeps road noise to a minimum.

There are six engines to choose from, ranging from a entry-level three-cylinder to the range topping diesels and hot M240i. The mid-spec 220d is an excellent choice though, offering plenty of pace (matching the similarly-priced 220i petrol), but returning up to 47.1mpg.

Beware the quick-sounding 230i, however, as it actually uses the same turbocharged 2.0-litre engine (albeit with more power) as the 220i, yet is barely any faster. There are SE, Sport and M-Sport trim levels available, with the most expensive models adding even more style with bigger wheels and a sporty body kit.

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    218i SE 2dr [Nav]
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £28,445

Most Economical

  • Name
    218d SE 2dr [Nav]
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £30,695

Fastest

  • Name
    M240i 2dr [Nav] Step Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £42,540

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