2015 BMW 228i/M235i Convertibles unveiled and heading to Paris
The promised al fresco versions of BMW's subcompact 2 Series Coupe have now been revealed prior to making their global debut at the Paris Auto Show. Like their hard-shell siblings, the cars will arrive here in two distinct flavors starting early next year: the 2015 BMW 228i and the 2015 BMW M235i. Pricing for the former will begin at $38,850 with the latter commencing at $48,650. Fitting a 228i with the automaker's intelligent all-wheel xDrive system will add $1,800 to the bottom line. Still no official word on the arrival of an M235i xDrive variant. But given the existence of an M235i xDrive Coupe, we expect a drop-top version also will roll onto the scene at some point.
When the sky's the limit
While sharing all of their key exterior styling elements with the 228i and M235i Coupe, these new 2 Series Convertibles do feature modestly revamped rear quarters to accommodate a power-activated soft top that tucks neatly away into a bespoke compartment as well as a pair of rollover hoops that remain out of sight until needed. Capable of deploying in 20 seconds at the touch of a button, the new fully-lined fabric lid features significantly improved noise attenuation qualities compared to its counterpart on the previous 1 Series Convertible. It can be operated at speeds up to 30 mph on all 2 Series variants, and even cycled remotely via the key fob on models fitted with a Comfort Access option. While official trunk capacity figures are still pending for U.S. cars, European stats show a nine-percent capacity gain with the top up and seven percent more space with it folded.
Mechanically, the BMW 228i and M235i Convertibles are virtual Coupe clones. BMW TwinPower Turbo engines reside underhood, with the 228i's force-fed 2.0-liter/4-cylinder making 240 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque and the M235i - the first drop-top model from M Performance - getting its motivation from a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that develops 320 ponies and 330 lb-ft of peak twist. Both engines can be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission or 8-speed Steptronic automatic and each is teamed with a host of BMW Efficient Dynamics technologies that includes Auto Start Stop Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand operation of various ancillaries and electric power steering as well as Eco Pro mode with coasting function.
When the corners come calling
The well-sorted suspension under each of the new 2 Series Convertibles also reprises design elements found in the 228i and M235i Coupes. Both cars come with a full range of model-specific Dynamic Stability Control functions plus Start-Off Assistant, Brake Assist/Drying/Fade Compensation and an Active Differential Brake that emulates a limited-slip differential. The enthusiast-oriented M235i ramps things up with more aggressive chassis tuning that includes variable sport steering, Adaptive M Suspension and larger M Sport brakes complemented by an upgraded 18-inch wheel/tire package. However, 228i buyers can opt for a Track Handling Package option that nets the same steering, variable suspension and sport stoppers along with a lower ride height.
Inside, the well-turned-out 4-place passenger compartment of BMW's new 2 Series cabrio set complements various model-specific appointments with a selection of BMW ConnectedDrive capabilities that includes a SIM card capable of supporting high-speed LTE wireless connectivity. These new 2 Series models also introduce free over-the-air data updates for vehicles equipped with the available navigation system and will offer a Technology Package that opens the door to loads of other features like Advanced Real-Time Traffic Information, BMW Portal and additional remote functions.
Other options for the 2016 BMW 228i and M235i Convertibles include Xenon headlamps with dynamic Adaptive Headlights, High-Beam Assistant, a Driver Assistance Plus Package (Active Driving Assistant/Attention Assistant, Lane Departure Warning/Forward Collision Warning) and Parking Assistant. The 228i also can be upfitted with both Sport Line and M Sport packages that add distinctive appearance elements as well as functional aerodynamic and handling enhancements.
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