The 220i is a very unique and stylish car made by an illustrious German car and motor bikes engine manufacturing company, the BMW. BMW is operating since 1906 for the betterment of vehicle’s market and in this regard, it’s been very famous for sexy cars with extremely powerful engines. The 2 series is a wonderful series of smart and decent looking cars made by BMW. Of all of the BMW’s recent crop of impressive models, the back-drive 2 Series models – the F22 coupe and now the F23 convertible – pursue to feel truest to the company’s customs and virtues, merging dynamic fun with both quality and solidity.
The latter – mainly tested here in base 220i guise – constructs on its successful 1 Series convertible strengths, while addressing some weaknesses as well. Against a small but ferocious range of competitors, the BMW stands tall.
Being a ground-up redesign constructed on a familiar theme, three big things have altered over the little old 1 Series rag top. Essentially, length, width, wheelbase and front/back tracks have extended by a sizeable 72mm, 26mm, 30mm (to 2690mm), and 41/43mm respectively. Resultantly, luggage capacity enhances 30 liters to 335L along with the roof erect, or 20L to 280L when the turret is completely dropped, while the ski port into the cabin is just now 300mm wider (to 450mm) and 28mm taller (to 246mm).
Needless to say, viability improves. And, finally, a “newly developed” fabric roof along with some extra insulation does its thing in only 20 seconds, at speeds up to 50km/h. Result? Contrary to its hemmed-in predecessor, this BMW convertible is strikingly spacious up front, and presently adequate short-distance adult transportation for the luckless duo out back. The old one was much stiffer by comparison. What the growth spurt has performed is turn the F23 into a practical everyday 2+2-seater convertible, as long as the car’s front occupants are willing to slide their chairs forward a little bit. Snug rather than confined sums it up.
Other thing is, the level of quietness along with the roof up is astonishing. A wintry blast during a week with the 220i Convertible surely didn’t feel like it, all thanks to coupe levels of refinement. No fussing. No draughts. No issues. Just cocooned cosines. Being a smart BMW convertible, all of the windows can be lowered just with a tug of a single toggle (and raised once again just as swiftly), for that American pillar less hardtop feeling that none of the modern coupe appears to offer anymore. Moving all the way in drop top mode, buffeting is maintained at civilized levels, even with all the glass lowered, while being able enough to lift it all up again fastly while on the move at speed to ignore that sudden shower is a true bonus.
BMW has clearly used its brains trust while engineering the great 2 Series drop-top. Test takers used to talk about generations of the 3 Series convertibles, defining that the company’s cheapest rag top has ultimately grown up. So to say that the 220i interior’s ambiance, presentation and practicality mirrors that of its 420i big-sibling is really being fanciful at all. For the starters, the dashboard is angled old-school BMW-style completely towards the driver, bringing to good light its thoughtful ergonomics, fine instruments, and excellent ventilation. Just set down low for a sporty sensation, amazingly supportive front seats also do an impressive job, with ample adjust ability typically for long-distance satisfaction.
The 220i also involves the firm’s famous iDrive controller, and that does need minor familiarity for the maximum effect, but it keeps to set the standard for this type of menu-based infotainment layout. On the downside, a small rear glass screen means reversing vision is horrific, so the driver has to trust the (effective) camera and sensors. Few of the lower console plastics seem a bit economical, and the gear lever requires that a button is pressed first before appealing, and that can be infuriating if one is in a hurry and don’t quite get the sequence timing perfect. Observing the back, rear-seat access is very easy via a shoulder-length lever, along with cushion hardness and backrest angle comfortable enough for short journeys. But it does feel a bit claustrophobic back with the roof up. And don’t try to forget, this is a four-seater only proposition. In short then? With a spacious, usable, inviting and hushed cabin of the car, the worst thing about the old BMW 1 Series has been exorcised at last.
While the best thing about the E88 – effective capability – has translated almost unscathed into its F23 successor, the entrance-level engine does have its all work cut out. BMW’s strong 135kW/270Nm 2.0-liter four-cylinder Twin Power single-turbo four-pot sweetie requires a determined right foot, as there is a significant amount of mass to move around, although once the revs are up, it feels greatly responsive, in part thanks to the clever tuning of the brilliant eight-speed auto. Bolstering the whole body as a result of chopping the coupe’s roof has produced in a 165kg weight gain in comparison to the 1365kg F22 220i. Consequently, mid-range acceleration is really not going to pin anybody back into their easy seats either, but – again – along with the turbo singing, this engine’s performance is explained by its punchy determination, mixed with relaxed cruising capabilities. Most costumers need to find that the 220i has sufficient oomph for most conditions.
To help the things along, the Driving Experience Control gives you Comfort (normal), Eco Pro and Sports settings, along with the default middle setting a fine stability between the fuel-saving former and harder-edged latter – whereby the effort of steering increased while the Twin Power takes on an absolutely more determined attitude, with muscular off-the-line performance, faster gear shifts and a much more relaxed traction control system. There is also a Sport+ mode in 220i that disengages the driving aids utterly, for some extra sideways shenanigans. Specifically on the flip side, the idle-stop tech is indeed seamless, helping to keep the consumption of fuel average under 10 liters per 100 kilometers.
BMW clearly says the 2 Series Convertible’s torsional firmness has improved 20 per cent over the old car, while the strength of bending rises by 10 per cent. Whatever the numbers, it is very clear that no four-seater convertible for the money will give quite the same degree of handling confidence, steering accuracy and road holding grip amalgamated with such playful chassis potential. At normal speeds, the 220i’s helm could utilize a bit more steering feedback and sharpness, for it appears that BMW has tuned it for relaxing comfort. But press on, especially in Sport mode, and the whole set-up truly gels, with beautifully weighted responses and a fluid, balanced attitude that mentions the fine level of engineering going on underneath. This is a rag top that honors the long-way-home sort of driver. Furthermore, the brakes are reassuringly sturdy, and are backed up by a drive quality that is generally better than test takers have come to expect from modern BMW’s. Inevitably, there is also some amount of road-noise intrusion inside over the coarser bitumen, but that is a small price to pay for such a smart dynamic roundness. The 220i Convertible remains the enthusiast’s desire among its ilk.
BMW seems to have rediscovered its mojo on quite a number of fronts, with the 220i Convertible manufacturing on the fine Coupe version as a reasonably priced, well-packaged, and ultimately honoring driving machine – that also occurs to open up to let the sun and stars in seriously with a minimum of compromise. The extra weight does simply mean the engine has to work harder than normal to perform to expectations, however, but even then, once on the road, it remains a calm and speedy operator. The usual BMW warnings apply – be careful that a lot of desirable options are quite expensive, for instance, but there is really not another back-driven, driver-orientated, four-seater drop top for one’s money – absolutely not until the Ford Mustang Convertible Eco Boost approaches at the end of the year for similar money. But right now, nothing comes close to the active 220i Convertible. So, don’t be at sixes and sevens anymore and pick a brand new BMW 220i for you garage straight away. Not only it has a sexy look but also a very sturdy engine under the roof and it is damn sure that this bull, BMW 220i, will make everyone surprise by its effectiveness. What is your opinion now for the BMW 220i?