BMW 2 Series Convertible review (2014-2021): models and trim levels

Attractive looks, good handling and excellent engines mark the 2 Series Convertible out as a fun-to-drive compact four-seat soft-top

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BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218i m sport 5dr step auto

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If you’re looking for a sporty-feeling convertible that’s fun to drive and can accommodate the occasional rear-seat passengers, your options are a little limited, but the BMW 2 Series Convertible is a fine choice.

It’s based on the BMW 1 Series hatchback and BMW 2 Series Coupe, so offers a range of three-cylinder, four-cylinder and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. All 2 Series Convertibles are rear-wheel-drive.

The most direct rival is the similarly sized Audi A3 Cabriolet, but if you don’t need the rear seats, then an Audi TT Roadster might appeal, too. Or even BMW’s own Z4, but the TT, Z4 and Porsche Boxster are only really comparable to the top-end 2 Series Convertible models and offer a more sporty experience than entry-level 2 Series Coupe models.

With rear-wheel-drive and good roadholding around corners, the 2 Series Convertible is reasonably sporty-feeling and fun to drive. It doesn’t lean too much in corners, and the range-topping M240i is even more sporty, thanks to its firmer suspension and more direct steering. The coupe version of the 2 Series is more fun still, as the fixed roof provides a stiffer structure.

The 2 Series feels more composed over twisty roads than the A3 Cabriolet, however, and its ride is surprisingly comfortable, too, which is not always the case with open-top cars.

You get a manual gearbox as standard, while there’s also an optional eight-speed automatic gearbox available. Engines include eager-performing petrols or diesels for those who do high mileages and are focused on fuel economy. The 220i and 230i are the best bet for petrol power, though at the top of the range the turbocharged six-cylinder M240i delivers Porsche Boxster levels of performance, but with two more seats than you’ll get in the Porsche.

Being a fabric-roofed convertible, headroom is tight with the car’s roof up, and the extra space required to stow away the convertible’s hood eats into both luggage space and rear-seat space. As a result, anybody over average height will find legroom and kneeroom wanting in the back. If you want a bit more rear-seat space, you’ll need to look at the likes of the BMW 4 Series Convertible or Audi A5 Cabriolet - both of which are much larger.

That said, you’ll find around as much space here as you’ll get in an Audi A3 Convertible - the 2 Series’ closest competitor, and up front there’s plenty of legroom and headroom.

As with the equivalent BMW 1 Series and 2 Series Coupe, it feels very well built inside, and everything has a premium feel to it, especially on the higher-level trims or with models specced with the higher-end stereo/sat-nav systems which get a larger screen.

Talking of media systems, BMW’s 'iDrive' system with a rotary controller rather than just onscreen buttons is one of the best aspects of the 2 Series Convertible’s interior. This is because its intuitive operation and convenient positioning mean you can access much of the system’s functionality without the need to take your attention away from the road - as is often the case with touchscreen systems that force you to prod the screen when driving, which can be highly distracting.

As well as the various engine choices, you can choose from three trim levels: SE, Sport and M Sport. Whichever one you opt for it’ll be well equipped, though: even the most ‘basic’ SE cars still get alloy wheels, air-conditioning and LED daytime running lights - plus standard built-in sat-nav.

Should I get a BMW 2 Series Convertible?

Well proportioned stylish looks
Enjoyable to drive
Well-trimmed and insulated fabric hood

Gruff diesel engines are rather noisy
Rear-seat space is limited
No hybrid or electric option

If you do want the capacity for an occasional rear-seat passenger, but still want more than a dash of open-top style, then the 2 Series Convertible is an excellent option, especially as it’s well built and fun to drive to boot.

The broad range of engine options means there is a model to suit most different sorts of driving needs - whether you do high mileages and want an efficient diesel, simply want an affordable and refined petrol model or are after a performance kick with the 340hp M240i.

Two-seater rivals such as the Audi TT and Porsche Boxster are more glamorous, but the 2 Series Convertible is still a seriously desirable piece of kit. And it's a lot cheaper to both buy and run than the Porsche.

BMW 2 Series Convertible (2014-2021): models explained

BMW 2 Series Convertible

BMW 2 Series Convertible

At the entry point for the 2 Series Convertible range you’ll find the 218i. It has a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, which is also used in some Minis. With 136hp, it’s a reasonable performer, and is pretty fuel-efficent, with claimed fuel economy of around 50mpg on paper, though you can expect almost 40mpg in most real-world conditions. The 184hp 220i and the 252hp 230i both use a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylidner petrol engine. The 220i is cheaper, but it’s actually no more fuel-efficient than the much more powerful 230i, which can achieve impressive fuel economy of around 48mpg according to BMW.

The diesel models offer the best overall fuel economy, however, as both the 218d and more powerful 220d can return 60mpg if you drive them gently on a motorway-style cruise. This makes them particularly efficient for a medium-size four-seater convertible that looks and feels reasonably sporty.

There are three trim levels: SE, Sport and M Sport. The range-topping M240i gets its own unique trim level, and suspension that’s set up to be even more sporty than the M Sport trims.

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Which BMW 2 Series Convertible to buy: trim levels

TrimEquipmentDeals
SELimited stock: 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning LED daytime running lights and a rotary dial-controlled media system with sat-nav that’s genuinely intuitive make even the most basic 2 Series feel a bit special.
SportFrom £14,000: Upgrade to Sport trim and you’ll be treated to sports seats, larger alloy wheels, and black rather than chrome effect trim finishes. You also get the chance to flip between ‘Eco’, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Sport’ settings thanks to switchable driving modes.
M SportFrom £15,495: M Sport spec cars get stiffer and lower suspension, plus more aggressively sporty styling cues, which give them a sharper look.
M235i/M240iLimited stock: The M240i is its own unique trim level, with a lower ride height than you’ll find in M Sport models, plus an excellent, muscular 340hp 3.0-litre petrol engine and a range of unique colour options.

 
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Best BMW 2 Series Convertible engine

If you want the best balance of performance and fuel economy, the mid-range 230i is the one to go for. It delivers decent-enough performance, thanks to a reasonably substantial 252hp power output and, although it doesn’t have the punch or the sporty engine note to match the high-performance M240i, it is both cheaper to buy and to run.

If fuel economy matters above all else, the 218d and 220d diesel models will certainly be tempting, but you can still get up to 46mpg from the 230i, which means that it shouldn't cost you too much in fuel. Plus, it sounds far less gruff than the diesels - which matters when you have the roof down, as you’ll be able to hear the engine more than in a fixed-roof model. So, even if economy is important to you, the 230i could be a good all-rounder.

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Best BMW 2 Series Convertible model for…

There aren’t all that many engines and trim levels to choose from, but mixing and matching the two means you should find a 2 Series Convertible that’s right for your needs, from the entry-level 218i SE to the punchy M240i.

As with most BMWs and cars from other upmarket German brands, 2 Series Convertibles aren’t especially cheap to buy outright, but they hold onto their value well, so PCP finance deals can be comparatively affordable, as the value at the end of the contract has just as big an impact on the monthly payments as the initial price.

BMW 218d SE: Although the starting point of the range is actually the 218i petrol model, the more economical diesel in the 218d or 220d makes more sense if you do a lot of miles and should cost you less overall.
BMW 230i Sport: There’s no ideal 2 Series Convertible when it comes to families - there’s simply too little space in the back. However, the relatively low running costs of the 230i Sport can make it a fun occasional car for high days and holidays - albeit not ones that require much luggage...
M240i: With 340hp from its 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine, the BMW M240i Convertible is fabulously fast, and makes a fine noise, too. If performance floats your boat, this is the 2 Series Convertible to go for.
BMW 218i SE: The 136hp from the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine isn’t quite enough to make the 2 Series work as a performance car, while the diesel models offer superior economy as well as more relaxed performance.

 

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BMW 2 Series Convertible rivals

Audi TT Roadster

BuyaCar prices from £16,090
Monthly finance from £0*

BMW 4 Series Convertible

BuyaCar prices from £14,590
Monthly finance from £0*

Porsche Boxster

BuyaCar prices from £37,989
Monthly finance from £0*

The main competitor for your cash when considering a BMW 2 Series Convertible is likely to be the Audi A3 Cabriolet. Like the BMW, it’s essentially based on an upmarket German hatchback (in this case the Audi A3) and offers a pair of rear seats to create a compact four-seat convertible. The A3 is less fun to drive than the BMW, however, and the top-spec S3 Cabriolet model is no match for the M240i in performance terms, although it does come equipped with four-wheel-drive for extra-secure handling and good grip on slippery roads.

If you want a bigger four-seat convertible, you’ll have to jump up a size - and jump up in price. The BMW 4 Series Convertible and Audi A5 Cabriolet are the natural choices if you want to go down that route.

Conversely, if you don’t need four seats, then an Audi TT Roadster might well suit - though it’s a little more expensive than an equivalent 2 Series Convertible. You won’t lose out on boot space, though - at 280 litres, the TT Roadster offers as much space as the 2 Series Convertible. Finally, if you’re looking at the higher power versions of the 2 Series Convertible range, then a Porsche Boxster might well be in your sights, too.

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BMW 2 Series Convertible practicality: dimensions and boot space

BMW 2 Series Convertible dimensions

The BMW 2 Series Convertible is just over 4.4 metres long and just under 1.8 metres wide. These are almost identical dimensions to the coupe version of the 2 Series, although the convertible model is a couple of centimetres longer. Nevertheless, it’s still a conveniently compact convertible and well suited to negotiating tight city streets or urban car parks.

It’s also around the same size as a conventional family hatchback like the Volkswagen Golf (or, indeed, the BMW 1 Series). However, because of the requirement to find space to stow the folding roof, interior space isn’t nearly as generous as you’d get in a family hatchback, especially for rear-seat passengers. Headroom, in particular, is a bit of a squeeze.

CLICK TO READ OUR FULL STORY ON BMW 2 SERIES CONVERTIBLE DIMENSIONS

Length 4,432mmWidth 1,774mm
Height 1,413mmWeight 1,635kg - 1,735kg

 

BMW 2 Series Convertible boot space

The problem with any convertible is that you need to sacrifice a certain amount of boot space to accommodate the folding hood. In the case of the 2 Series Convertible, that means it offers only 280 litres of space, a full 110 litres less than you will find in the coupe version of the 2 Series.

That’s fairly normal, however, and the available boot space is no different to the amount you’ll find in the Audi TT. It is a little bit less than the 320 litres of space in the boot of the Audi A3 Cabriolet, though.

CLICK TO READ OUR FULL STORY ON BMW 2 SERIES CONVERTIBLE BOOT SPACE

Boot size 280 litres

 

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BMW 2 Series Convertible reliability

Although a premium car manufacturer with a traditionally strong reputation for reliability, BMW’s record has become a little tarnished in recent years - the brand overall came 27th out of 30 brands in the Auto Express 2020 Driver Power survey.

That said, the 2 Series itself tends to fare better in model-related surveys, but even so it’s generally considered no better than ‘average’ for reliability.

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BMW 2 Series Convertible warranty

While the likes of Toyota, MG and Kia offer long warranties, with Toyota offering the potential of up to 10 years of cover and MG and Kia providing seven years' warranty, with a new BMW you only get a three-year warranty.

However, there is no mileage cap for these three years of cover, which is unusual when many brands offering three-year warranties will only cover 60,000 miles. This means that those planning to cover a high mileage over the first three years of the car's life may get more warranty cover with BMW than a brand that limits cover to the first 60,000 miles only.

3 yearsUnlimited miles

AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £721 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON USED CAR WARRANTIES

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Used BMW 2 Series Convertible: should I buy one?

The 2 Series Convertible was on sale for almost eight years, so you can find examples for sale with all sorts of mileage, age, specification and condition. There’s a wide range of prices, too. Older or higher-mileage examples will have lower prices, but do be aware that models that have covered more miles may need certain mechanical components replaced due to natural wear and tear.

Equally, servicing, parts and maintenance costs are relatively expensive for BMWs, compared with models from mainstream brands - as is often the case with many premium-badged models from Audi and Mercedes.

If you cover a lot of miles, then it’s worth thinking about opting for one of the diesel models. However, because of the economical nature of these models, they do tend to have covered quite a lot of miles as used cars in the first place. As is always the case, though, provided the car has a good service history, an older used BMW 2 Series Convertible should give you many years of good service. 

You can find BMW 2 Series Convertibles on BuyaCar from £14,000 or £0 per month. 

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Best BMW 2 Series Convertible deals

BMW 2 Series Convertible petrol

BuyaCar prices from £15,495
Monthly finance from £0*

BMW 2 Series Convertible diesel

BuyaCar prices from £14,000
Monthly finance from £0*

BMW M235i/M240i Convertible

BuyaCar prices Limited stock

It’s best to go for more powerful versions if you’re after the best 2 Series Convertible - whether you’re thinking about petrol or diesel power. For example, the 218d and the 220d diesels achieve roughly the same claimed economy, but with 190hp versus 150hp, the 220d is significantly faster, making it a more flexible motorway cruiser - and simply more enjoyable to drive.

Both the petrol-powered 220i and 230i feature similar claimed fuel economy, too, despite the fact that the 230i has 252hp versus the 184hp of the 220i. The more powerful models do tend to be more expensive to buy initially in both these cases, but they also both provide a more enjoyable driving experience thanks to that extra power.

Of course, the most powerful 2 Series Convertible by far is the 340hp M240i, but while it offers thrilling performance, it is a rather expensive option, so only particularly keen drivers are likely to want to opt for this, unless money isn't a problem and you simply want the best 2 Series Convertible.

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*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:

PCP representative exampleAPR rates available
Cash price £12,000APR 7.90%Value of loanFrom
Fixed monthly payment £218.12Annual mileage of 8,000pa£25,000+6.9%
Total cost of credit £2,755.55Term 48 months£12,000-£24,9997.9%
Optional final payment £4,285.79Loan value £12,000£8,000-£11,9998.9%
Total amount payable £14,755.55Deposit £0<8,0009.9%

 

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.
 

Last Updated 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 10:30

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