The great city of Austin welcomed us for the test drive of the new and first BMW 2 Series Convertible
BMW harkens back to its small car roots with a droptop version of its tossable 2 Series Coupe. Welcome to the new BMW 2 Series Convertible. My biggest question about the 2 Series Convertible, was whether BMW could add the drop op and not kill the dynamics of the seriously fun to drive 2 Series Coupe.
To find out, BMWBLOG headed to Austin, Texas where BMW had it waiting for us along with an 2015 X6 M on the Circuit Of The Americas race track.
Though BMW has a three piece metal hardtop convertible in the 4 Series and Z4, they have kept it lighter and simpler with a cloth top on the 2er. The top can be opened or closed at low speeds, less than 30 mph. BMW prepared for us to drive the 228i in Glacier Silver Metallic with the Sport Line and Coral Red Dakota Leather with black stitching. An M Sport suspension is included with the Sport Line and other options include a Cold Weather Package, Driver Assistant Package, Driver Assistance Plus, Premium Package, Technology Package, and last but not least Harman Kardon Premium Sound. The total bill comes to $50,225. Not exactly cheap for a midsize convertible.
The 2 Series Cabriolet has very broad shoulders compared to its coupe brother. Flowing lines on the hood start at the headlights and flow back up the hood. A horizontal crease line starts on the front fenders and work their way to the rear while rising to the back of the car. The taillights have the classic BMW L-shape.
The 2 Series Convertible has a double layered top that opens and closes with a center console lever. Interesting enough is the fact that it has a rear radio antenna in order to be able to pick up AM signals. Apparently AM radio is a big deal to the U.S. and Britain. If you are in Germany and try to find an AM station, you won’t. They don’t listen to AM radio there.
The 228i Convertible is powered by the N20 four-cylinder that is good for a peak 240 hp between 5000-6500 rpm. The real motivator though is the 228i’s max torque of 255 lb-ft of torque which is available way down low at 1450 rpm and carries this max figure all the way to 4800 rpm.
The M235i Convertible is powered by the venerable N55 3.0 liter motor that is tuned to put out 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. BMW is offering an eight-speed automatic standard in both the 228i and the M235i. A manual transmission is available but only on the M235i variant.
The new 2 Series Convertible replaces the departed 1 Series Convertible. As with its 2 Series coupe brother introduced a year ago, the 2 Series Convertible grows by 3.5 inches in length and 1 inch in width. I really thought the outgoing 1 Series looked awesome as a coupe, but was too small and cramped for a convertible version.
However, with the slight dimensional changes for the 2 Series convertible, looks just right. The new 2 Series Convertible has the right proportions and doesn’t looked cramped. Drop the top and the new cabriolet looks great with broad shoulders and a squat stance. The M sport version of the 228i and the M235i add a very aggressive front clip.
THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE
BMW laid out a route that took us through varying roads and terrain around Austin. We meandered through the city, on the interstate and a loop through the country side. The only truly exciting thing I experienced during the drive is when we were behind a massive truck carrying a dumpster.
Stuff started flying out of it.
Just as I started to pass on him on a two lane road a huge piece of plywood comes flying out. The 228i handled the situation well by deftly getting me into the passing lane and then had plenty of grunt to complete the pass. There is some mild body roll when you push the 228i hard but not bad. The ride over all is firm but not at all harsh.
We drove with the top down for about three quarters of the route. The wind deflector when deployed along with the windows up decreases the wind buffeting a ton. We went from almost screaming at my co-driver to having a conversation at normal volume. The top needs just twenty seconds to open or close. It can also do it at speeds up to 30mph. We found this helpful when we were lowering the top and the stop light turned green. With the top up, the road noise is hardly noticeable. BMW did a great job at sound insulating the top.
I only have two criticisms of the 2 Series Convertible. The first is that there is no manual transmission in the 228i, but doubt customers will actually miss it. Thankfully for those who prefer a three pedal car, the 335i Cabrio offers a manual as a no cost option.
Second, I wish BMW would offer those wicked cool neck warming seats available in the 4 Series Convertible. They are definitely not a gimmick and a nice way to stay warm in colder weather. We also questioned Dr. Olaf Kluge, who is in charge of the 2 Series cabin electronics, about the lack of Head-Up display on the 2 Series. He told us that area in front of the instrument cluster was not big enough to install it.
To add a droptop to the 2 Series, BMW added 330 lbs and $5,800 for the 228i versions, and $4,600 and 220 lbs for a M235i version. M Sport brakes are an option on the 228i and standard on the M235i. In the Sport line version of the 2 Convertible, BMW uses 18×7.5 front wearing 225/40/18, and 18×8 rear wearing 245/35/18 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
BMW managed to add the mechanics needed for a drop top, add body structure reinforcement and did so without affecting the tossable fun nature of the 2 Series Coupe.
I suspect the 2 Series Convertible will be a very successful car for them.