2,4,6,8 – BMW Convertibles and Coupés.
BMW took to using even numbers for drop-top versions of their various odd-numbered saloons.
Here, then, is the car that has taken over from the 1-series Convertible
It’s a bit wider and a bit longer and, being a totally new vehicle, it presents a whole range of change from thereon in.
The roof is the main thing. It is lowered and re-erected in twenty seconds, at speeds up to 31 mph. (Go any faster and the hood will stop in mid-flow.) Its construction is improved, with three-layer sound insulation, and BMW says it has paid particular attention here, to the extent of a better junction between the rear edge of the rear side window and the hood itself; this follows some adverse comment from 1-series Convertible owners. It works. On the test drive, the car was indeed nice and quiet inside, free of all but the slightest wind-noise. With the hood down, the side windows up and the optional wind-deflector (£260) in position just behind the front seats, the car could hardly have done more to defeat wind buffeting. There was virtually none at full motorway speed. Despite the temperature outside being about five degrees, I was kept nicely warm by having the heated seat on, the heater at 25 degrees, and a hat on; I could feel a bit of a chill on the back of my arms, but that’s being really fussy.
Any rear seat passengers would have a problem if the anti-buffet screen was in place, but if not, then they do have their own heating supply at hand. The hood of course comes with a proper glass heated rear window. Visibility with the hood up is quite good, and with it down it’s excellent all round.
Boot space in cars like this is always compromised when the hood is lowered (it has its own compartment), but BMW claims that the new car is the best in its class in this respect. There is a useful space through into the rear for long loads, a set of golf clubs for example.
I drove two versions: the 220d Sport which will be the best-seller accounting for around a third of all sales, and the M235i, which is real flier.
First impressions of the diesel were very good; it was smooth and quiet, refined and pretty quick. The acceleration was plenty-enough for most situations. The brakes at first seemed over-sensitive, but I got used to applying the lightest of pressure, and they proved to be excellent. Well you’d expect nothing less.
The handling was really nice, too, with top-class steering – beautifully weighted in varying degrees to suit the purpose: light for parking, stiffer for fast driving.
All the controls and switches were pleasant to use, with a quality feel to them. I suppose that there may be slightly smoother manual gear boxes, but then the car was brand-new with a bit of mechanical running-in to do.
The M car was quite simply more fun. If there’s that much power available of course so it should be. But, yes, it felt really muscular without being over the top or the slightest handful. Zero-to-62 acceleration in 5.2 seconds was accompanied by that sophisticated growl that drivers of M BMWs have long enjoyed from those marvellous six-cylinder engines — 326 bhp, 3-litre in this case. Newcomers will likewise want to hear it at every opportunity. Maybe that ‘s why the fuel consumption on my drive stood at an indicated 25 mpg, whereas the diesel car showed 44.3 mpg.
The technology race continues, one manufacturer against another. The benefit to owners increases exponentially. The new convertible boasts an impressive range from all angles.
Safety through the latest preventative measures such as the anti-skid stuff is all there. Comfort and convenience is covered equally nicely and includes an emergency situation or accident contact with BMW’s rescue organisation. Via GPS, the car’s location is immediately pinpointed. This is not unique, but it’s up with the best and lasts for the lifetime of the car.
Depending on how much you want to spend, there’s a massive list of options. The 220d’s basic on-the-road price stands at £29,965; my test car reached £36,995 thanks to fourteen optional extras. Similarly, the M235i, starting at £36,779, finished up at £44,135.
In all, the new 2-series is available to order right now (March 1st) with a choice of four engines. These include the new 2-litre diesel tested plus the 220i Sport petrol and 228i Sport petrol. At the top is the car M car…BMW says this is the first time that a convertible has had M power, but I’m confused – for a start what about those convertible mid-90s M3s?
Luxury and M Sport trims can also be specified. Whatever, this new BMW is a winner.
Review BMW 220d Sport Convertible
Price as tested: £36,995
Engine: 2-litre diesel turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Top speed: 140 mph
Fuel economy: combined 60.1 mpg
CO2 emissions: 124 g/km
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