First drive: BMW 2 Series Convertible

We get behind the wheel of the 2 Series Convertible and see how it compares against the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mini convertible

What is it?

The BMW 2 Series has been an immensely popular car, with more than 140,000 units sold worldwide since it was launched three years ago. Now, it's been updated for 2017, which includes an array of minor changes on the exterior and interior.

What's under the bonnet?

Our test car was a 220d. This diesel-powered model will undoubtedly be the more popular option thanks to excellent fuel economy mixed with enough oomph under the bonnet. It also has an impressive 400Nm of torque. Having this low-down grunt makes daily driving much more relaxing, allowing for easy overtaking and brisk jolts of acceleration – it'll hit 60mph in a respectable 7.5 seconds. Despite this performance, it'll still return 65.7mpg on a combined cycle, as well as emitting just 133g/km CO2.

What's the spec like?

The 2 Series Convertible costs from £27,540 for the 218i in SE spec. Even these cars get 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity. Our test car was a 220d in M Sport trim, and this weighs in at a hefty £33,640. Despite it being on the pricey side these cars do receive plenty of goodies including 18-inch alloy wheels, a full M Sport aerodynamic bodystyle package and dual chrome tailpipes.

Apple CarPlay is available as an optional extra and allows for seamless smartphone integration without having to plug the phone into the car's system via USB. It's a great setup that seems to works seamlessly.

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Any rivals?

The Audi A3 convertible and Mini convertible are the BMW's closest rivals. The Audi especially matches the BMW in terms of build quality and desirability but falls behind on drivability, with the BMW feeling much more energetic on the road.

The Mini darts around and is generally great fun, and as it is also a product of BMW, feels superbly made. It also lacks the rear legroom and boot space of both the BMW and Audi.

What's it like to drive?

Once you're behind the wheel you find that things haven't changed too much in terms of the way it feels to drive. But, that's no bad thing as it remains a car that is great to drive, providing more than enough entertainment for the driver. There's plenty of precision to the steering, which makes it easy to place on the road.

Our car was fitted with the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox, which felt silky smooth with each change. You can take control yourself by using the steering wheel-mounted shifters, though most drivers are likely to leave it in its full auto setting.

The ride is very impressive and not too firm, something that will suit those who aren't looking for an all-out sports car, but don't want a wallowy convertible either. There is hardly any body roll, making the car feel composed on the road.

Despite having a cloth roof, road noise is relatively quiet. There is an increase in volume but it isn't noticeable and something you would quickly adjust to. The roof can also be lowered or raised at speeds of up to 31mph.

AOL Cars Verdict

The new 2 Series Convertible may have only been lightly refreshed, but the changes that have been made add to its already considerable appeal. With a good range of engines to choose from as well as a variety of customisation options, it's a more rounded package than before, and one that still deserves consideration.