2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible Review

Introduction

The BMW 2 Series Convertible is the open-top version of the closely related Coupe and it represents the entry-level convertible in BMW’s wide portfolio of models where occupants can be exposed to the elements. It’s ostensibly a four-seat car with much of the practicality of the 2 Series preserved, despite its folding roof arrangement, and there’s a good selection of BMW’s turbocharged petrol and diesel engines to choose from. Unlike other BMW ranges – including its Coupe sibling – there is no xDrive all-wheel-drive option in the 2 Series Convertible line-up, with all cars sending power to the rear axle alone. Two gearboxes are offered, those being a six-speed manual or an eight-speed Steptronic automatic, and there are four trim levels to choose from across the range.

Body Style: 2-door Convertible           Seats: 4                         

MRP from £27,540 - £40,915

 

Did you know? Although the 2 Series fits in with BMW’s naming policy, its badge is also supposed to evoke memories of the ’02 models of the 1960s and 1970s.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Unlike its hard-topped Coupe sibling, the BMW 2 Series Convertible operates in a far narrower market when it comes to competitors. Aside from the Audi A3 Cabriolet, there really isn’t another compact, four-seat convertible like this from any of the recognised premium brands; about the nearest rival in terms of value and excitement is the Ford Mustang, a physically far larger vehicle. That gives the 2 Series an advantageous start in life, which it capitalises on by being a superb open-top machine – blending good driving manners, excellent refinement, an air of quality throughout, and strong drivetrains to result in a thoroughly capable all-rounder. There’s not a huge amount of legroom in the rear and the choice of six-cylinder engines is limited to just one, which sits right at the top of the range, but – unless you really need a tiny bit more space in the back of the car – the 2 Series Convertible is good enough to have you questioning why you’d ever require the pricier 4 Series Convertible instead.

 

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Pricing

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

We Like

Looks good hood up or down

High-quality interior finishing

Well-sorted chassis

We Don't Like

Lack of six-cylinder engine choices

Rear passenger space constrictive

Can seem pricey in desirable specifications

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

BMW elected to eschew the trendy option of giving the 2 Series Convertible a folding metal roof when it launched the car in 2014, instead sticking with a triple-layered fabric affair for reasons of simplicity, cost, and more efficient packaging. It’s a move that’s paid dividends, because the 2 Series is a good-looking car whether the hood is up or down, with enough kerb appeal to make it look special and expensive when the roof is tucked away. Talking of which, you end up with a perfectly flat shoulder-line to the Two Convertible with the hood down, while raising or lowering the lid takes 20 seconds – that’s a fully electrified process that can be completed on the move at speeds of up to 31mph.

A 2017 ‘Life Cycle Impulse’ (LCI - of 'facelift' for normal people) saw LED headlights and taillights adopted as the standard across the range, while the number of alloy wheel designs for the 2 Series Convertible family rose to 17 in total. Three new colours were added to the palette – Mediterranean Blue, Seaside Blue and Sunset Orange – and the front air vents and kidney grilles were discreetly reshaped, to keep the 2 Series Convertible looking fresh.

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

With the sort of excellent fit and finish you’d expect of something from an upmarket German manufacturer, the cabin of the 2 Series Convertible is a very pleasant place to spend some time, whether you’ve got 10,000 miles of sky above your head or just a couple of inches to the closed fabric roof. The LCI brought about new upholsteries for the seats, with a fresh (if subtle) redesign of the main fascia – adopting a fillet of trim that encompasses the centre air vents, and revised vents for the outer two items. It’s also reasonably well-equipped, as even basic SE models have air conditioning, a multifunction Sport leather steering wheel, and the Drive Performance Control modes switch as part of a competitive specification. However, leather upholstery (Dakota) is only standard equipment on the range-topping M240i.

Practicality

The 2 Series Convertible is a strict four-seater, with two shaped chairs in the back and only a pair of three-point seatbelts. Not that you’d ever want to cram three people into the rear of the BMW, because it’ll be a tight fit for just two passengers anyway. BMW has made a decent fist of making the 2 Series a four-seater and we’d certainly say it’s more commodious than a 2+2, but if a quartet of adults want to travel in the Convertible for long distances, they’d better be less-than-average height.

No problem with the seating position or space up front, however, and the steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach on all models, but electric adjustment of the seats and lumbar support are both cost options across the entire 2 Series Convertible line-up. There are some useful touches, like standard rear Park Distance Control, a sliding front armrest, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, and heated door mirrors/washer jets on all cars, which should make year-round motoring a little easier.

Like any convertible, boot space is compromised by the simple expedient of having to house the car’s roof on sunny days. Outright capacity is down from the 2 Series Coupe’s 390 litres to just 335 litres here, and that’s with the hood up – with it stashed away, the cargo bay shrinks again to 280 litres.

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity: ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

The 2017 LCI saw the introduction of the iDrive 6 software for the Professional Nav level of infotainment. This adds touchscreen capability to the long-standing iDrive rotary controller on the transmission tunnel, meaning you can swipe, tap, and pinch the dash-mounted 8.8-inch display to manage functions, instead of clicking and twirling the dial. Lesser models do with a 6.5-inch display that doesn’t have the six-tile configurable home screen for the iDrive.

But there’s a good level of connectivity on offer in all versions of the 2 Series, as base Convertibles are equipped with Bluetooth, a USB connection, DAB, MP3 compatibility, ConnectedDrive services, and a simpler version of BMW’s navigation system. Options include Apple CarPlay support, ‘Qi’ wireless smartphone charging, and the ability to turn the car into a WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices. In terms of entertainment, two sound systems are offered for modest fees, which are the BMW Advanced Loudspeaker first, and a meatier Harman Kardon arrangement for a little more money.

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

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Performance & Handling: ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

As we mentioned at the outset of this piece, the 2 Series Convertible line-up in the UK is exclusively rear-wheel drive. There are xDrive variants of the car in left-hand-drive markets, and you can even have the 220d Coupe with power going to both axles here, but the Convertible has no such option. That makes it the only rear-wheel-drive, four-seater, premium soft-top going in a price bracket that’s almost exclusively beneath £40,000.

Engines available are a variety of turbocharged petrol and diesel options, in the main all four-cylinder motors of 2.0-litre capacity. Bookending the line-up are the exceptions to this rule – the 134bhp, 1.5-litre, three-cylinder 218i, and the 335bhp, 3.0-litre, six-cylinder M240i. Both are excellent in their own ways, although the M240i is obviously the more tantalising of the pair; it’s capable of 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds with the automatic gearbox, for instance, which is as quick as the V10-powered BMW M5 of 2005 could manage.

Elsewhere, there are three variants of the 2.0 diesel – the 148bhp 218d, the 187bhp 220d, and the 221bhp 225d – and two further petrols, the 220i (181bhp) and the 230i (249bhp). Almost all of these come with the six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with an eight-speed Steptronic automatic an option for around £1,300 or more. The 220i, 230i, and 225d, however, all get the eight-speed Steptronic ‘Sport’ transmission only, featuring paddle shifts on the wheel where the regular auto used elsewhere does without. The M240i, out of interest, does indeed have a manual gearbox as standard, which is a nice, driver-centric touch.

What the 2 Series Convertible does so well, like its Coupe sibling, is blend typically wonderful BMW handling attributes with healthy doses of both high refinement and a general feel-good factor that’s hard to match at any price point this side of 50 grand. While it will never be the sharpest tool in BMW's box, the 2 Series soft-top nevertheless provides a reasonable standard of driver reward if commanded in a spirited fashion, resisting understeer well and never showing up too much in the way of body flex, while it can cruise comfortably and quietly with the best of them.

Pick the 220d engine with the automatic for the easiest-to-live-with combination for daily driver duties, but don’t rule out the M240i: while the drivetrain is better employed in the stiffer Coupe, it’s still special enough to make the Convertible a blindingly good M Performance car that combines plenty of dynamic fun with the pleasure of open-air motoring.

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

Recommended engine: 220d M Sport auto

0-62 MPH

7.4 seconds

Fuel economy

64.8mpg

Emissions

117g/km

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Although the BMW 2 Series Convertible hasn’t explicitly been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, the related 1 Series has and it picked up the full five-star award. Admittedly, the regulations have changed since the One garnered that accolade, but there’s more than enough passive and active safety equipment on the 2 Series Convertible to make it a good bet that it would emulate that performance. Every car in the range has traction control, anti-skid technology, a tyre-pressure monitoring system, a speed limiter, and multiple airbags as standard. And to be found on the options list are ‘Icon’ Adaptive LED headlights (with the hexagonal daytime running lamp motif), radar cruise control, speed limit information displays, and a wide array of driver-assist safety kit, among more.

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

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Specs and Trim Levels: ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Colours

Of the three colours introduced in the 2017 LCI, only Sunset Orange metallic is available on all cars across the board. The other two, Mediterranean Blue and Seaside Blue, are only to be found on lesser SE and Sport models. Indeed, the lower two trim grades can be had in 11 colours, while the M Sport and M240i Convertibles have just seven available.

Choose from Alpine White or Jet Black as your standard, flat colours on the SE/Sport cars, with the nine metallic shades (around £550 each) consisting of Black Sapphire, Melbourne Red, Glacier Silver, Mineral White, Mineral Grey, Sparkling Brown, Mediterranean Blue, Seaside Blue, and Sunset Orange.

Six of these colours – Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Melbourne Red, Mineral White, Mineral Grey, and Sunset Orange – are also offered on the M Sport and M240i, as well as their own exclusive shade, which is Estoril Blue metallic. You can finish the roof in subtly different tones too, depending on the body colour you pick.

Trim Levels

The specifications are linked to the engines. The 218i and 218d can be had in SE, Sport, and M Sport trims. Moving up, the 220i and 220d both drop the SE grade, while at the top the 230i and 225d models can only be ordered as M Sports; that’s 12 options in total. The M240i qualifies as a trim grade of its own, adding further luxuries to the kit list on top of an M Sport.

The SE cars get 17-inch alloys, 'Move' cloth upholstery, and a single exhaust pipe at the rear. Sport variants are around £1,000 more and stick with 17s, but change the design for something a little, well, sportier, while the interior ambience is lifted by Sport accoutrements, 'Track' cloth trim, and ambient lighting. Dual-exit exhausts can be found at the rear.

Most buyers in the UK opt for M Sport, though, which is another £1,600 on a Sport. These Twos wear a much bolder body kit around the lower portions of the exterior and they bring in 18-inch alloys, M Sport suspension with different spring and damper rates, Sport seats in the front that are now finished in 'Hexagon' cloth with Alcantara, and lots of little ‘M’ badges inside and out.

The M240i benefits from items such as its own specific suspension set-up, bigger and more powerful brakes, Ferric Grey detailing for the wheels, door mirrors, and front 'airblades' outside, dual-zone climate control within, hide upholstery, and extended storage and lighting packs as well.

Size and Dimensions

Physically, the 2 Series Convertible is no bigger than the Coupe, which means about the size of a large-ish C-segment hatchback. It’s an easy enough car to park and thread about urban areas, thanks to the good visibility out of the cabin.

Length

4,432mm (all models, bar M240i: 4,454mm)

Width

1,774mm (excluding door mirrors)

Height

1,413mm (all models, bar M240i: 1,403mm)

Max towing weight without brake

750kg (all models, bar M240i: not rated for towing)

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy: ★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

The Convertible 2 Series doesn’t give much away on fuel economy and emissions to its Coupe stablemate, despite an increase in weight. All the diesels, except for the 225d (57.6mpg), give back in excess of 60mpg, while the regular petrol models range from 45-49mpg; the M240i, the lone six-cylinder 2 Series, returns 34mpg as a manual.

On all cars where it’s an option, the automatic gearbox improves not only acceleration (bar the 218i, where it marginally blunts performance), but also fuel consumption and emissions. Champion is the 220d, capable of more than 65mpg on 17-inch wheels and almost 65mpg on 18s. Emissions stretch from 113- to 142g/km on the regular range, with the M240i churning out 169g/km as an auto and 189g/km as a manual.

As the 2 Series is part of the EfficientDynamics family, all models employ start-stop, Brake Energy Recuperation, the Eco Pro drive mode setting, electric power steering, an optimum shift indicator (on manual cars), and reduced rolling resistance tyres on every variant except the M240i. Benefit-in-kind rates are therefore competitive, at 21-27 percent for the regular range and 32-36 percent for the M240i, while insurance groups are reasonable, with strong residual values also predicted.

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Reliability and servicing ★★★★★★★☆ (8/10)

There are no reports of any major issues with the range of drivetrains found in the 2 Series Convertibles, so it should prove a reliable soft-top, while it has the Condition Based Servicing system in the car that tells you when it needs maintenance, according to how it has been driven. Service Inclusive packs can consolidate three years’ worth of servicing into a one-off fixed fee and BMW’s warranty of three years/unlimited miles is fairly generous, if not ground-breaking.

Petrol models

No fixed servicing schedule – Condition-Based Servicing system.

Diesel models

No fixed servicing schedule – Condition-Based Servicing system.

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

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Pricing: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Only the M240i Convertible with a Steptronic Sport gearbox surpasses £40,000 basic, which isn’t actually a huge pile of cash for a desirable open-top machine with a 335bhp engine. Nevertheless, at the other end of the scale the opening price of the Convertible line-up is more than £3,000 costlier than the cheapest 2 Series Coupe, so it’s not exactly what you’d call a bargain. What plays into the Two’s hands here is the lack of choice elsewhere – it’s comparable on price to an Audi TT Roadster but the BMW is obviously a far more practical car than that. Lack of alternative choice therefore makes the 2 Series Convertible feel like it is about spot on in terms of its showroom sticker.

2017 BMW 2 Series Convertible

Recommendations

COMPANY CAR BUYER

The lowest Benefit-in-Kind of the 2 Series Convertible range is 21 percent, provided by the 220d Sport Steptronic auto on 17-inch wheels.

CAR ENTHUSIAST

Convertibles don’t always make for great drivers’ cars, but the BMW has a sparkling chassis, so give it the M240i motor for maximum thrills.

COST CONSCIOUS

The cheapest way into 2 Series soft-top ownership is the 218i SE manual, which at least has the appealing three-cylinder engine from a Mini Cooper.

Rivals

Audi A3 Cabriolet

Second-generation A3 Cabriolet is a far more convincing open-top than the MkI, but the BMW 2 Series is the sweeter car to drive.

BMW 4 Series Convertible

Four has slightly more rear-seat space and a metal roof; we reckon the 2 Series feels just that bit sportier from behind the wheel, though.

Ford Mustang

Charisma by the bucket load and a V8 motor is on the cards, yet it’s a wholly different – and much bigger – proposition to the 2 Series.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet

Mercedes doesn’t do either an A-Class or CLA soft-top, so the larger, more expensive C is as close as you’ll get to the BMW, for now.

Porsche 718 Boxster

Obviously, it’s a fabulous sports roadster, despite the drab four-cylinder engine, but there’s the cost, the basic specification, just two seats...

What others say

What Car?

“The BMW 2 Series Convertible isn’t quite a class leader, but it’s still a comfortable, fun-to-drive open-top.”

Car Buyer

“The BMW 2 Series Convertible is a compelling package, offering top-down thrills, superb handling, excellent engines, and attractive styling.”

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