Thus far, we’ve been mightily impressed with the BMW 2 Series. Hiving off the coupé from its hatchback brethren may have looked like a pretty pointless marketing idea, but the result is a pithy and potent two-door machine that, at its best, has proven more than a little reminiscent of the classic BMW compacts that helped make it famous.

BMW’s long history of three-box coupés includes plenty of cabriolets – both the 1600-2 and the 2002 spawned limited-production versions before the E21 generation and E30 made them volume editions – and it’s with a soft-top derivative that the 2 Series range now grows again.

BMW claims its predecessor, the 1 Series, was the most popular car in its class globally. Making that assertion probably required some careful squinting at what it felt qualified as a rival because, by our estimation, the 2 Series must now fend off everything from tediously beheaded hatchbacks (think Renault Mégane CC) and mainstream sun loungers (Vauxhall Cascada) to genuinely sporty options such as the Audi TT Roadster and Mercedes-Benz SLC .

It is equipped to do this by virtue of one of BMW’s typically fulsome engine line-ups. Right now, for under £30k, there is the choice of 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engines in the shape of the 218i, 220i, 218d and 220d respectively. For a little more, there’s the 248bhp 230i, or 222bhp 225d which all use a turbocharged four-cylinder motor.

Or if you prefer your rag-top BMW with a straight six, the range-topping M240i is available for less than what you’d pay for an entry-level Porsche 718 Boxster. At the other end of the scale, the three-cylinder, 134bhp, £26k 218i SE props up the range.

Our test subject is the 220d. It should be one of the most popular variants and also gives us our first chance to run the road test ruler over BMW’s latest four-cylinder diesel engine.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Convertibles

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Genesis G70
    First Drive
    22 September 2017
    Based on the Kia Stinger, Genesis' new G70 saloon shows plenty of promising signs that it could be a hit in Europe
  • Lamborghini Aventador S
    First Drive
    22 September 2017
    Still visceral and dramatic as ever, but does the vast number of mechanical changes and tweaks help make the Lamborghini Aventador S more engaging?
  • Renault Koleos
    Car review
    22 September 2017
    Renault’s new crossover sees the Koleos name return, attached to an SUV of a quite different stripe
  • Nissan X-Trail
    First Drive
    21 September 2017
    On our first chance to get the facelifted Nissan X-Trail on UK roads, the petrol proves a viable alternative, although for outright pulling power the 2.0 dCi is the better bet
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.2d 210
    First Drive
    21 September 2017
    Most powerful diesel version of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is swift and more frugal than its closest rivals, but makes less sense than the range-topping petrol version