The BMW 2 Series Convertible goes on sale this April - we've driven the powerful 228i petrol version

What is it?

The BMW 2 Series Convertible is the third addition to the 2 Series range, and it is tasked with offering a slightly more sensible take on the small soft-top than its 1 Series predecessor.

There is nothing radically different about this car at first glance, not in the way that the recently introduced 2 Series Active Tourer is radical anyway, but this new Convertible is larger and more practical than its predecessor in almost all directions. It's longer, wider, has a bigger boot and more in the way of practical touches.

It also comes with an M235i performance version for the first time, although what we're driving is the second one down in the petrol engine line-up: the 228i.

Although there will be a choice of Sport, Luxury and M Sport trim levels on the 2 Series Convertible, this engine comes in only M Sport trim, and it is available with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions.

What's it like?

The engine in this 2 Series Convertible is the same one you get in the 3 Series, among others.

It's certainly quick; 0-62mph is covered in 6.0 seconds if you go for the automatic gearbox, and it has a limited top speed of 155mph. Our test drive was on Texan roads, so there was no chance of getting anywhere near those sort of speeds, although it felt sprightly away from the mark. This is aided by the swift-shifting eight-speed transmission, which will either let you blast rapidly through the ratios, or sit quietly in the background barely alerting you to its presence.

It's a remarkably quiet engine; unfortunately there is little to nothing in the way of evocative noise from the motor or the exhaust to do that sort of pace justice. On the positive side, it means the cabin is remarkably hushed. BMW says this car is five decibels quieter up front compared to the old 1 Series drop-top, and with the roof up you can chat away almost as easily as in a tin-topped car.

There is a wind-deflector that slots into the rear of the cabin, but if you have to carry passengers, or just fancy dropping the roof without fiddling around and fitting the deflector, the cabin is sheltered enough to not worry on short trips.

The chances are you won't have people clamouring to ride in the back seats too often. You can fit a six-foot adult in there, but their legs will most likely be touching the seat in front and their head will be brushing the roof when it is up. The backs of the rear seats are also very upright, making them slightly less comfortable for longer trips.

That said, there is more room than the previous 1 Series, and marginally more space than in the Audi A3 Cabriolet.

One thing that BMW has increased notably is the boot space. It is 30 litres larger than before, and the hatch between the cabin and the boot is 50% wider - it is 450mm wide by 246mm high - so carrying longer items is that bit easier now.

Should I buy one?

Based on what we have seen so far, there is every reason to suggest that a 2 Series Convertible would be a sound purchase. It is a refined cruiser that also offers the potential for some enjoyable driving, and comes with more space for passengers and luggage.

We'd stop short of recommending it wholeheartedly, though, as this is not the model that is likely to find full favour in the UK. Yes it is quick, but it doesn't have the drama of the M235i, and the stats for the 220i suggest that's not exactly slow either, and is £2370 cheaper with more options in the way of trim.

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BMW 228i Convertible

Price £31,550; Engine 4cyl, 1997cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 242bhp at 6400rpm; Torque 258lb ft at 5000-6500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1610kg; Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 6.0sec; Economy 42.8mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 154g/km/23%

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