Also available is a Steptronic sport transmission that offers even quicker gearshifts, a launch control function and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Expect to pay a premium of around £1500 for the Steptronic, or £1650 for the Steptronic sport.
BMW’s switchable driver mode system, Driving Experience Control, is standard on all variants. The 218i, 220i and 220d offers three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and fuel-efficient Eco Pro – whereas the M235i adds Sport+.
Sport+ is also added to any model fitted with the any of the following: Steptronic sport transmission, M Sport package, BMW Sport Line trim, Adaptive M Suspension or variable sport steering.
The cabin is very similar to that found in the 2-series coupé, albeit with some upgraded materials such as the high-gloss black surfaces on the centre console and the chrome accents surrounding the air vents.
Available for the first time on a BMW is free-of-charge wireless updating of navigation data via an in-built SIM card. The system – available on cars fitted with the optional Professional navigation system – updates itself several times a year whenever new map data becomes available, with no licence fees or data transfer charges for the car’s owner.
Three choices of roof colour are available: the standard one is black, but two optional colours, anthracite and brown, are both interwoven with a silver thread which generates a reflective appearance under lights.
The drop-top has a ‘convertible’ mode on the automatic climate control. When the roof is open, it takes account of the speed at which the car is travelling and adjusts the intensity of the cooling or heating effect to maintain its effectiveness.
Another option specific to the convertible is a wind deflector that can be set up in the rear of the car. Optional leather trim is treated with SunReflective technology, which uses special colour pigments to significantly reduce the degree to which the leather is heated by the sun’s rays.
BMW chiefs are confident that the 2-series convertible can surpass the 130,000 sales achieved by the outgoing 1-series convertible. The most significant markets for the new model will be the USA, UK and Germany.
Q&A with Domagoj Dukec, BMW head of exterior design
How does the design of the 2-series convertible differ from the 1-series convertible?
The previous car was very nice, but there were still some lines from the previous design philosophy and they were a little bit more polarising. With the 2-series convertible, we’ve tried to create a car more linked to BMW traditions of the past. For example, the horizontal feature line that runs all the way around the car is a typical BMW feature that wasn’t on the 1-series. It is reminiscent of the BMW 2002.
Why does the 2-series convertible utilise a soft-top when the 4-series convertible has a hard retractable roof?
A hard-top is wider and cannot fold so well. We do it on the 4-series because the car is wide enough so the shutlines are not disturbed. Personally, I have always liked soft-tops. They give you differentiation in the colours and textures.
What design techniques did you use to give this car a sophisticated feel?