BMW 220i Convertible: Two-tti Fruity

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The worst thing about the 220i Convertible is that it shares the same '2' model designation as the Active Tourer...

 

 

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Singapore - What happened to 'even for form, odd for function'? That's what we were told the new numbers meant... 4 Series for Coupes and Convertibles, 3 Series for the Tourings and Sedans. Well, the 2 Series Active Tourer and recently unveiled Gran Tourer have now thrown a spanner into the works. Why not 1 Series Active/Gran Tourer? Who knows, but I'm sure the guys who own the sportier and more aspirational 2 Series Coupes and Convertibles aren't as enthusiastic in telling the world they drive a 2 Series these days... well, not without qualifying that it's not the Active Tourer or Gran Tourer at any rate, but the M235i or in this case, a 2 Series Convertible (F23).

“BMW 2 Series Convertible – like the recently launched BMW 2 Series Coupé – occupies very different ground from the BMW 1 Series, far more so than its predecessor. This demarcation is evident in both its design and its extremely powerful range of engines,” said Mr. Sethipong Anutarasoti, Corporate Affairs Director of BMW Group Asia.

P90160687 copy2+2, rear-driven, classic soft-top and a lively engine even in 220i guise. What's not to like? Moreover, we're talking about a sticker price of around S$216k, versus let's say, close to S$300k for a new TT Roadster – we're guesstimating the Roadster's price a little based on the TT Coupe's S$265k, quattro model to quattro model. Of course we're not saying the 220i Convertible is in the same league as the TT, but it's no wallflower, since it admirably straddles the fine-line between flash and ostentation. Bear in mind too, you can't take all of BMW's smaller models' RWD jollies for granted, because we understand that come 202x, all the 2er models will be front-wheel driven, just like the Active Tourer and Gran Tourer...

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Of course, such cars are more about the form than the function, but that's not to say the 220i Convertible is a party-pooper as far as fun and games go. Like the TT Roadster, it gets a soft-top, which is especially appreciated in these compact cars because of the weight-savings (the 220i Convertible tips the scales at just over 1.5-tonnes). Then it's rear-wheel drive and has a lively 2.0-litre turbo'd engine that pushes out 184bhp and 270Nm. Of course, if it's punchier performance you're after, there are always the M235i or 228i Convertibles, but the 220i Convertible provides enough go to accompany the show.

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The 220i Convertible's proportions are classically elegant – much like the E30 3 Series that many remember so fondly – with the shoulder-line and soft-top compartment creating that distinctive 'boat-deck' character of BMW Convertibles. The cabin may not feature the fanciest and latest technological bells and whistles, but will be familiar ground for fans of the brand: taut quality and the right amount of amenities and utility.

Even over bad roads, the chassis is well-damped, especially coupled to the 17-inch footwear. Body-control and steering feel are decently fluid, so you're driving rather than hacking and sawing with the steering in the hope of achieving brisk progress. What the engine lacks in outright speed it makes up for in corner to corner driveability, especially since it's easy enough to surf the engine's wave of mid-range torque if you work the flappy paddles that control the car's eight-speed auto transmission. PHOTOS: BMW

201501 P90173049-zoom-origBMW 220i Convertible Sport
Engine: 1997cc, inline4, turbocharged
Power/rpm: 184bhp/5000-6250rpm
Torque/rpm: 270Nm/1250-4500rpm
Transmission: 8spd auto
0-100km/h: 7.6secs
Top speed: 226km/h
Price: S$216,800 w/COE
Agent: Performance Motors Limited

David Khoo
Author: David Khoo
David is a big petrolhead who has been dabbling in the car trade since 2001 and currently oversees Top Gear Singapore. His stories often take an eclectic slant from the predictable, and he's able to craft a compelling read that lets you see the cars (often old!) in a new light.