The headline news isn’t perfect for BMW. Our tape measure confirmed that the Audi A3 Cabriolet, the 2 Series’ closest rival, still has a bigger back seat – and by large enough margins on leg room and overall width for it to be noticeable in everyday use.
But the BMW’s back seat is at least much more competitive on occupant comfort than it was. Two smaller adults or growing teenagers would be able to sit back there without feeling confined.
That’s not the end of the argument, either. The BMW hits back with a bigger boot than the Audi and more front-row occupant space – both of which may be considered more useful than second-row passenger accommodation by plenty of owners, since this is likely to be a second car.
Credit to BMW, too, for thinking as hard about access and flexibility as overall space. The 2 Series’ boot opening is 35mm wider than that of its predecessor, and folding the back seats down – something you can only do as an option – reveals a through-loading aperture that’s significantly wider and taller than before. BMW says it’ll now permit two golf bags to be loaded through longways, and we can believe that.
It’s a shame not to see an equal effort being made to raise the 2 Series’ game on cabin ambience. You get a slightly ritzier centre stack in this car than in the equivalent coupé and material quality is good. But it all looks very familiar. The cockpit seems a bit conventional and ordinary, failing to delight the senses as much as we’d like for what ought to feel like quite a rich, special-occasion cruiser.