The BMW 2 Series Convertible has been revealed at the Paris motor show. It goes on sale in February 2015.
What is it?
The 2 Series Convertible is the replacement for the 1 Series Convertible. It is the third model to bear the 2 Series name, following on from the Coupe and the 2 Series Active Tourer MPV.
Like the Coupe, the Convertible is rear-wheel drive, unlike the front-wheel-drive 2 Series Active Tourer.
BMW says that the new 2 Series Convertible brings significant improvements over the old soft-top 1 Series in terms of passenger space, ease of access, refinement, driving ability, and equipment. It will also come with an M variant for the first time.
It is 72mm longer, 26mm wider and has a 30mm longer wheelbase than the old 1 Series, which gives more space inside. The boot is now 30 litres larger at 335 litres, and the gap for passengers to get in to the back seats is 11mm wider than before.
Despite the increase in space over the 1 Series, the rear of the 2 Series is only really suitable for smaller passengers or short trips. Legroom is tight for adults in the back, while the high sides mean it feels snug in the rear seats.
The fabric roof can be raised and lowered in 20 seconds and at speeds of just over 30mph. BMW also claims that increased insulation has reduced noise on the move by four decibels.
The 2 Series' body has been stiffened by 20% to improve safety and the driving experience.
What engines can I choose from?
There will be a choice of one diesel and three petrol engines in the 2 Series Convertible in the UK.
The 220i petrol is the entry-level model, and is joined by a 228i and an M235i. The 235i is the first M version of a convertible of this size from BMW. It is capable of 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds with the eight-speed automatic gearbox and 5.2 seconds with the six-speed manual transmission. It still manages emissions of 184g/km and 199g/km and economy of 35.8mpg and 33.2mpg respectively, however.
A 220d will be the most economical of the bunch, with emissions of 116g/km when paired with the auto, and 124g/km on the manual version.
How much equipment does it come with?
There will be three trims available - Sport, Luxury and M Sport, while SE models will be offered at a later date. The 228i will only come in M Sport trim, while the M235i gets it on bespoke specification.
All models get alloy wheels, automatic air-conditioning, keyless start, sports seats, a multi-function leather steering wheel, Bluetooth and DAB digital radio.
Luxury models get larger alloy wheels, chrome exterior details, wood interior trim and leather upholstery. The M Sport versions also get aluminium trim, chrome exhaust tailpipes, M Sport suspension and body kit and an M Sport steering wheel.
An M Sport Plus pack adds a a Harmon Kardon sound system, M Sport brakes and xenon headlights.
The M235i gets 18-inch alloy wheels, grey mirror caps, dual-zone air-conditioning, leather upholstery. M Sport brakes and spoiler and M logos on the wings.
How much will it cost?
Full pricing has yet to be revealed, but BMW has confirmed that the range will start at £29,180 for the 220i, which is an £3135 increase over the 2 Series Coupe.
This suggests that the 228i will start at around £31,400, the 220d at around £30,000 and the M235i at £37,395.
Can I get a discount?
Discounts on the 2 Series Coupe range from around £1500 to £2000, so we would expect a similar level of savings to be available on the Convertible version.
How good are its rivals?
The 2 Series Convertible's main rival is the Audi A3, and it is a formidable competitor. We give the A3 Cabriolet the maximum five stars and reckon it strikes a fine balance between comfort and entertainment, especially on the basic SE suspension. The biggest downside is the jerky S tronic automatic gearbox.
The Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet also offers space for four and is enjoyable to drive, although it is not as comfortable over bumps or as quiet at speed as the Audi.