BMW updated its 2 Series range this summer, with some changes to the engines and specifications across the line-up. There were a few naming tweaks, too, with the M235i becoming the M240i to reflect a small power boost. Now, we’ve driven the Convertible version in the UK for the first time and, as there’s no M2 cabrio, it’s the fastest drop-top in the range. Fast it certainly is, thanks to a 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbo six-cylinder engine with 335bhp and 500Nm of torque. That means it’ll go from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds with the automatic gearbox fitted, and up to a top speed of 155mph. Those figures are improved slightly over the M235i Convertible, which had 321bhp and managed the sprint in five seconds flat.
The difference on the road is minimal, although the extra 50Nm of torque does make the engine feel more eager at lower revs. Like before, it’s a superb unit — smooth and powerful but also with a dual personality. It’s perfectly happy to trundle down the road at low speeds, but can also rev harder if the mood takes you.
The eight-speed gearbox on our test car serves up a nice balance of smooth and fast shifts depending on the driving situation. It sounds brilliant, and that’s where the Convertible comes into its own compared with the coupe, as you can hear that growl even more clearly. The extra strengthening needed for the soft-top means it doesn’t feel as agile, but the difference is small and this car is still good fun on the right road.
Slightly numb steering aside, the BMW is great to drive, with just a little body roll and an enjoyable rear-wheel-drive chassis. The adaptive M Sport suspension means you can change from Comfort to a harder Sport profile, although the difference between the settings is mainly felt in the gearbox, which is more aggressive and holds on to gears longer in the Sport modes.
The suspension remains fairly compliant on UK roads, and while you’ll still notice some lumps and bumps, the M240i feels planted over even the roughest surfaces. Like many of BMW’s cars, the low driving position is comfortable and helps make the M240i feel even more sporty. Small things like the simple dial design give an upmarket edge to the interior, especially in combination with the leather upholstery.
The soft-top roof folds down at the touch of a button and while it’s a little slow, it does hide away neatly behind the rear seats. Technically there’s room for four in the car, but the rear space will cause sore legs after a long journey. A wind deflector can be fitted, to help keep buffeting down. Understandably, the M240i suffers more than the coupe in terms of wind and road noise with the roof up, but it’s still nicely refined and fine for holding a conversation with a passenger. BMW’s latest infotainment system is fitted, while sat-nav is standard.
The set-up is among the best around, with an easy-to-use scroll wheel for selecting menu options rather than a fiddly touchscreen. It looks sharper than before, too, thanks to some new graphics on the various screens. Another area of improvement over the old M235i is efficiency, as the new model claims 38.2mpg with the eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted. That’s 2.4mpg better than before, and CO2 emissions of 169g/km mean it’s £20 cheaper a year to tax than the M235i was – and there will be company car tax savings, too.