Highlights: From 1967 to 1975, the BMW’s 2-series convertible name existed. For the 2015 model year, the BMW 2-series replaces the gas-guzzling 1-series convertible.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $53,285 (base model $38,850)
Seating Capacity: 4 (according to BMW)
Standard Safety Features: air bags; ABS; a tire pressure monitoring system; rain sensing windshield wipers; an automatic light control; daytime running lights; a rollover protection system; a central door locking system; a dynamic stability control system; a dynamic brake control system; a third brake light is integrated into the trunk; and cornering brake control system
Standard Equipment: 17-inch tires; a power operated top; an 8-speed transmission; an automatic transmission; an auto stop/start gas saving function; driving control settings: eco pro, comfort sport and sport plus; a 3-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel; a 6.5-inch infotainment screen; a manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel; manual adjustable front seats; a front seat adjustable center armrest; a convertible wind deflector; an automatic climate control system; a keyless ignition system; and leather-like seats
Options On Review Model: a cold weather package (heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and a retractable headlight washers); driver’s assistance package (rear view camera and park distance control alerts); driver’s assistance plus (active driving assistant and speed limit info); technology package (navigation system, BMW online and apps, advanced real-time information and remote services); a premium package (universal garage door opener, a keyless entry system, automatic dimming mirrors, auto dimming rear view mirror, lumbar support, satellite radio, and leather seat; and a Harmon/Kardon premium sound system; a track handling package (18-inch wheels, M-Sport brakes, adaptive M-suspension and a variable sport steering); a sport line package (door mirror caps in black, sport seats, a M-sport suspension, black high gloss trim with Coral Red matte accent, an increased top speed limiter, a black sensatec with red highlights); a Moonlight black soft top; parking assistant alert aids; and a lighting package (Xenon headlights and adaptive light control)
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: AM/FM/HD radio
228i x drive (all-wheel drive)
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 mile warranty
Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 mile warranty
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged/240-hp
front: an aluminum double-pivot spring and strut-type
rear: fully independent suspension system
Recommended Fuel: Premium
Standard Fuel Mileage: 23-city/34-hwy
What’s New: The rear-wheel drive BMW 2-series is the latest addition to the German automaker’s open-air line up.
Pros: BMW’s newest entry-level convertible continues to maintain the driving and handling characteristics one expects, but in a smaller package. In addition to the vehicle being offered with two powertrains, a 240-horsepower engine and a 320-horsepower engine, the 2-series is also available in an all-wheel drive configuration.
The brand’s precise handling, hardtop convertible can be optioned out with a host of features that enhance the driving experience. In addition to the optional features we noted on our vehicle, one could also consider 19-inch wheels, a lane keep assist system and a lane departure warning system.
And, unlike two previous recent 2015 BMWs we reviewed, with the M-performance package, the entry-level 228i, with the optional track handling package, offered the perfect balance of comfort and handling. Even with the optional track handling package, which included the M-sport suspension, the ride wasn’t harsh and unforgiving. Moreover, we found the 228i, which pumped out 240 horses, to be more than adequate for this vehicle, without compromising the exhilarating driving experience. Added to that, the automatic stop/start gas saving feature combined with the 4-cylinder engine, equaled an acceptable 34 miles per gallon of highway traveling, which is significantly improved from the 1-series.
Furthermore, those opting for more power than what the entry-level 228i brings to the street, can consider stepping up to BMW’s signature M-series, with a 320-horsepower engine. Unlike the 228i, the larger engine can be controlled by either a fun-to-shift manual transmission or an automatic transmission.
Lastly, beyond the driving dynamics, the 2-series convertible is capable of supporting the LTE wireless, enabling fast and reliable data transfer through the use of the SIM card. BMW’s high-tech system also supports smartphones and a variety of social media applications, too to keep the occupants totally connected.
Cons: The rear-wheel drive 2-series hardtop convertible might as well be classified as a two-seater, since there is basically no rear sear room. The BMW 2-series rear seating area is designed specifically for infants. And while the new 2-series is available in a rear-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration, the more powerful M235i, with the 320-horsepower engine, isn’t available with an all-wheel drive system. Also for those seeking a manual transmission in the 2-series, they’ll have to shell out enough money to step up to the M235i. It’s too bad the four-cylinder isn’t available with a manual transmission.
Furthermore, we found BMW’s entry-level premium compact convertible to be quite pricey. So, for those seeking a performance-oriented drop top, at a lower price point, without losing the excitement factor, they could consider Infiniti’s G35 or even Ford’s new globally-designed Mustang. They are both great alternatives.
Verdict: We were extremely impressed with the great road manners and driving characteristics of the all-new BMW 2-series, which could be converted to an open-air vehicle with the mere flick of a button. Although this is the German brand’s new, snug-fitting, entry-level convertible, we found it to be true to its roots.
Competition: Audi A3 Cabriolet, Ford Mustang Convertible and Lexus IS C 250
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.