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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

The 2 Series is larger than the car that it replaces, being 72mm longer and 26mm wider than the 1 Series Convertible. The increase in size is intended to deliver a more usable product than its predecessor ever managed to be.

The 2 Series’ wheelbase is also 30mm longer than before, meaning that there’s a bit more leg room in the back, and there’s an additional 30 litres of storage in the boot, expanding it to 335 litres in total.

The 'anthracite with silver effect hood' is supposed to reflect the sunlight. To me, from more than about six feet away, it just looks dusty.

The car’s real packaging trick is played out in front and largely on top of the bag-swallowing bit. The 220d’s electrically operated folding soft-top is either pitched or packed away in about 20 seconds, a procedure it will carry out at road speeds of up to 31mph.

BMW claims the skin of the fabric is better insulated against wind noise, by as much as 4dB in terms of cruising refinement, relative to the old convertible 1 Series. We’ll find out if that makes the new car a particularly hushed example of its type in due course.

Thanks to extensive and imaginative use of high-strength steel, the torsional rigidity of the 2 Series has been raised by 20 percent over the 1 Series, with resistance to bending improved by 10 percent. That, says BMW, comes despite a decrease in kerb weight.

Like the closed 2 Series, this weight is distributed evenly front and back, with the bumps managed by front MacPherson struts and multi-link suspension to the rear – both retuned for the new application. Compared with its forebear, the tracks are significantly wider, too.

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BMW gave the 2 Series range a long overdue facelift with the largest changes made to the lighting and interior. The latest 2 Series convertible comes with LED headlights, foglights and rear lights as standard, a reshaped air intake design and a refreshed kidney grille. Inside there is a new instrument cluster, redesigned air vents and touches of chrome and the latest generation of BMW's iDrive infotainment system, which includes a touch sensitive screen.

Only the M240i gets the option of a limited-slip diff. As standard, each model comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. BMW’s eight-speed automatic is available if you care to lavish an extra £1550 on it.

Our test car retained the manual gearbox in conjunction with its new 2.0-litre diesel engine, which first appeared in the facelifted BMW X3. It delivers meaningful 14bhp and 37lb ft improvements over the old 120d.

Among the motor’s advancements compared with the previous 2.0-litre engine are thermally joined cylinder liners, integrated balancer shafts, a more efficient turbocharger and a higher-pressure fuel injection system.