► 2-series gets mid-life refresh
► (Very) minor changes afoot
► Tested in 220d spec
Here in the UK we’re clearly big fans of the BMW 2-series Convertible, coming in behind the US and Germany as the third largest market for the model since it was launched back in 2015.
Now, roughly midway through its life-cycle, the 2-series drop-top has been given a (very) light refresh, with an updated interior, more kit as standard and a wider range of paint colours and alloy wheels to choose from.
Care to expand on what’s been updated?
Starting with the interior, the centre console has been liberally doused with a high-gloss finish and the major control panel above has been angled more towards the driver. There’s also a new part-digital blackpanel dashboard design, rejigged air vents, additional upholstery variants, more chrome and a different type of stitching.
Aside from the macramé overhaul, the 2-series Convertible also benefits from a new touchscreen infotainment system on cars with the Navigation System Professional option box ticked.
On the outside, all 2-series Convertibles now come with LED headlights as standard, with the upgrade to adaptive LED offered as an option. Eagle-eyed readers will also spot that the air intakes and kidney grille surrounds have had a workover too, as have the rear light clusters.
Customisation options are on the up, with four new alloy wheel variants on offer and three new exterior colour shades, cheerily titled Sunset Orange, Seaside Blue and Mediterranean Blue.
Enough clutching at straws, what’s new under the bonnet?
Nothing. And it’s the same with the chassis and suspension. We weren’t kidding when we said ‘a very light refresh’ – BMW has given the 2-series’ oily bits a free pass into the second stage of the car’s lifespan.
So it drives exactly the same as it did before?
Yes – but then that’s really no bad thing. The chassis may not be as taut as that of the 2-series Coupe’s, but remains both communicative and comfortable enough to please both keen drivers and cruisers. What neither will be thrilled about, however, is the odd steering weight.
At speed it feels overly light, and only seems to add more resistance at low speeds – less than ideal in any car, let alone a sporty convertible. Push past that and there’s bags of grip should you choose to use it.
Under the bonnet the 187bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines should provide ample get-up-and-go for most drivers, with a strong surge of torque (295lb ft) from low revs for maximum waft-effect around town.
The downside of such effective torque delivery is that it creates a sense of expectation that the power can’t quite match once it takes over higher up the rev range.
Sure, it pulls nicely up until the 5500rpm redline, but there’s little to be gained from nailing the accelerator to the floor, with half throttle and short shifts enough to bring out the best in the engine. A solid but unremarkable 7.4-second (7.5 for the manual) 0-62mph time is testament to that.
The lack of a growling straight-six does however mean that the 220d Convertible is, on paper at least, impressively economical returning a claimed 65.7mpg on average when fitted with the eight-speed auto gearbox.
Will it ruin my hair with the roof down?
If you go fast enough, then yes, it definitely will. But keep to sensible speeds and, with the wind deflector fitted, a full Cilla Black-spec bouffant should at least maintain most of its shape. You can even hold a reasonably easy sans-roof conversation, too.
Canvas top in place and the 2-series Convertible is impressively refined, and, in certain conditions it’s possible to forget that there’s only a piece of canvas separating you from the elements. There’s also bags of headroom for taller drivers and passengers, with relatively easy ingress and egress achievable.
Can I get anyone in the back seats?
Actually, yes – you can! Despite the 2-series being far from the biggest convertible in BMW’s line-up there’s still a reasonable amount of space in the second row of seats. Provided you haven’t got Peter Crouch up front there's a decent level of kneeroom on offer, plus headroom is adequate for those under six foot.
Compared to the coupe the rear seats are a little narrower due to strengthening pillars protruding inwards, but potential customers shouldn’t have to think twice about sitting kids in the back, or even adults on shorter journeys.
The BMW 2-series Convertible has just undergone one of the most imperceptible updates in living memory. Why? Perhaps because there really wasn’t much wrong with the car in the first place. The drive may not be as focused or enthusiast-oriented as some would like, but as a package the 2-series Convertible clearly holds plenty of allure for the UK car-buying public, and it’s not hard to see why.
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