Sunny summertime weather has finally arrived in the mid-Atlantic, and we’re taking full advantage of it this week with the BMW 2 Series Convertible. And if you’re still a bit cloudy on the BMW name game, the new 2 replaces the old 1 Series, with a thorough redesign. That sounds like as good excuse as any for some seat time in a drop-top Bimmer, so let’s go!
When the BMW 2 Series Coupe arrived for 2014, we declared it a “just about perfect package” meant for sport luxury buyers looking for an incredibly fun ride. Well, what happens when you open that package up? You get the 2015 2 Series Convertible.
Engine choices follow the Coupe, a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 255 lb-ft. of torque found in the 228i, and of course the 320-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo inline-6, found throughout the BMW lineup, in the M235i.
All-wheel-drive is available, but with the 4-cylinder only, and the sole transmission is an 8-speed automatic. 6-speed manual fans must opt for the I6.
Our test, however, revolves around the most affordable of the line, this standard rear-drive 228i. Since we’ve already driven a host of BMW’s with the 2.0-liter, there’s nothing new to report. Still diesel-like in its clatter, and still a little rougher around the edges than most rivals.
Whether winding through curves, zipping in and out of traffic, or eating large chunks of interstate miles, this drop-top “Deuce” feels plenty tight as we’ve come to expect from BMW. The multi-layer soft top lowers in 20-seconds, and wind noise remains acceptable until you really push it.
The chassis is very stiff, taking bumps without fuss or discernable cowl shake; carrying on the long history of super solid little convertibles from the Roundel.
The tight confines of the interior means you feel right at home in it. It’s agile, friendly, light on its feet; and easy to make a case that this is the only remaining Bimmer that has that classic feel that we all remember so fondly.
Power is sufficient, but not enough to get you into trouble.
All-in-all its comfortable and confident; a car you buy for the driving pleasure of it, not necessarily for making any kind of statement, and you don’t feel the need to make any excuses for it.
The look is all modern BMW. From the kidney grilled front, body lines widen and climb as they reach the flat rear deck.
With top in place, visibility is acceptable, even with a small back glass. The back-up camera helps in parking lot situations, we just wish it was standard.
Not much about the interior differs from the rest of the BMW lineup, particularly the 2 Series Coupe. If you’re not familiar with iDrive or BMW’s infotainment system, there will definitely be a learning curve; but the level of things you can do with it really is mind-boggling.
The 2 Series front seats are supportive and very livable. The back seat, despite a longer wheelbase than the 1 Series convert it replaces, is not. Even children will find it punishing. Leave it for the luggage…
…that won’t fit in the still reasonably sized trunk. Top up volume is a pretty good 13.8 cubic-ft. But, it does shrink a bit when the top is stowed.
At the track, this little rag top truly feels like the vaulted 3-series of times past. Balance is just about perfect for feel and fun, as you scoot through cones with ease.
It may feel a little soft initially, but the grip is there in spades; and even with the moderate power, you can find both over and understeer should you go looking. Off the line, this turbo-4 is nicely torquey, though it quickly runs out of steam. 0 to 60 is an unremarkable 6.3-seconds.
Shifts, however, are smooth and quick, and felt better as our track day went on, bringing us to the end of the ¼-mile in 14.9 seconds at 92 miles-per-hour. Stops from 60 took an excellent 100-feet, with absolutely no fade and little drama.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 23-City, 34-Highway, and 27-Combined; we averaged a fine 28.0 miles-per-gallon of Premium. The Energy Impact Score is 12.2-barrels of yearly oil use, combined with CO2 emissions of 5.5-tons.
Reasonably priced, luxury-minded, sporty, 4-seat convertibles have become fewer and fewer, so this car certainly fills a niche with base pricing of just $38,850. However, we all know that unfortunately most will be rolling off the dealers’ lots closer to 50, with our tester at a whopping $53,825.
So, while it may not exactly be a bargain, the 2015 BMW 228i Convertible is truly a blast. A splash of nostalgic feel in a modern package that’s built to please. And while we’re sure that there are plenty more warm weather weekends ahead, they just won’t be the same without the 228i Convertible.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 255 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.9 seconds @ 92 mph
EPA: 23 mpg city/ 34 mpg Highway
Energy Impact: 12.2 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.5 tons/yr