The world is becoming more familiar with the new BMW passenger car naming conventions — odd numbers for sedans and wagons; even numbers for coupes and convertibles — so with that in mind, the 1 Series compact coupe and convertible are becoming 2 Series coupe and convertible.
Joining the lineup, the 2 Series convertible tries to defend the mantle acquired by the 1 Series convertible, which quickly became the market leader in the segment with more than 130,000 models sold.
The 2 Series convertible carries on with BMW hallmarks of superb driving dynamics, powertrain efficiency, agility and interior style, comfort and functionality. Although the complete lineup varies according to market, Canada will start with a 228i xDrive (all-wheel drive, a first for a compact BMW) at the end of February 2015 and get the M version — the M235i Convertible — in mid-summer, with an xDrive all-wheel drive version expected at a later time.
The exterior design is unique from the Coupe variant but was developed in parallel. The look is more in line with the sleekness of the new 3 and 4 Series cars and farther removed from the more upright 1 Series predecessors. The models are 72mm (about 2.75 inches) longer than their predecessors, with an increase of 30mm (about an inch and a quarter) in wheelbase. The width is increased by 26mm (about an inch), but wheel track is increased by 41mm in the front and 43 mm in the rear (between an inch and a half and an inch and three quarters).
All this makes for a more stable stance, allows easier access to the passenger space and increases luggage space by 30 litres (about a cubic foot) or 20 litres (0.7 cubic feet) when the top is stowed. The trunk opening is 35 mm wider and the passthrough from the rear seat is 70 percent larger, with increases of 150mm in width and 28mm in height. The rear seats can be folded forward through a lever in the trunk.
For safety, there’s a full suite of airbags, and rollover bars are concealed behind the rear headrests. The front also features BMW’s active hood technology to aid in slightly protecting pedestrians struck by the vehicle.
The 2 Series’ sportier lines are in keeping with the BMW design of a long hood that sets the passenger space farther back in the chassis with the wheels set close to the corners to diminish overhangs. A wide track defines a natural balance that aids in flat handling manners befitting the marque. Torsional rigidity has been increased by 20 percent to reduce body shake and improve dynamics when the top is stowed.
The fabric top is electrically operated to open and close in about 20 seconds at speeds up to 50 km/h. It comes in black, brown and Anthracite (with a silvery shimmer), depending on the complementing car body colour.
Power will come from familiar BMW engines; the 241 hp 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder in the 228i xDrive, and the 322-hp 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder in the M235. Both come standard with the eight-speed Steptronic transmission, and feature engine stop/start technology. Stability and traction control are also standard, as is BMW’s Active Differential Brake for improved braking dynamics. An M Sport package (brakes and suspension) is available for the 228.
The 228 will be available in late February 2015 with the M235 expected in mid summer.