BMW 220i soft top catches the eye
Reversing the BMW 2 Series convertible into a parking bay in Auckland’s Cornwall Park, I heard a woman’s voice yell at me: “I want to buy your car.”
Driven photographer Ted Baghurst and I were completing the cover shoot of the BMW and were setting up a shot with the roof retracted when the red convertible caught the eye of the power-walking woman.
“You can’t have this one,” I replied to the woman as I put the car into park and turned off the engine.
“I’m serious,” said the woman, “I’ll buy it from you right now.”
Laughing as I exited the car, I told Ms Persistent that actually she could buy one very similar — if she went to a BMW dealership.
It wasn’t the first time the convertible attracted attention. I had taken the 220i convertible to Taupo for the weekend and on the trip back to Auckland I took the roof off. When stopped for a petrol top-up in Tokoroa, the service station attendant looked at the topless BMW and nodded his approval to me.
“It’s good to see a lady drive that car like it should be — with the roof off,” he said.
The BMW 220i convertible is priced from $72,800, with my test model topped up to $73,750 with the rear-view camera added.
Powered by a 2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 135kW of power and 270Nm of torque, it goes from 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds.
The 2 Series four-seater soft-top replaces the 1 Series convertible, now being 72mm longer (at 4432mm) and 26mm wider 1774mm) with an increased boot space of 335litres (roof up) and 280l with the fabric roof folded into the boot.
The BMW’s direct competitor is the Audi A3 convertible, which was launched in New Zealand last winter. The Audi is priced from $69,900 for the 1.8-litre petrol (132kW/250Nm) six-speed while the S3 cabrio costs $93,900 for the 2-litre (221kW/380Nm) version.
The BMW sits on 18in tyres, over Audi A3’s 17in, is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and comes with “driver experience control” that includes eco-pro, comfort, sport and sport plus modes.
Moving through the modes changes the throttle and transmission response, and while comfort was fine for city driving and coping with gridlock, I opted for sport mode on the open Waikato and Taupo roads.
The response was immediate with a surge in power, ideal for overtaking and staying ahead of the weekend packs of traffic.
The increased weight in the chassis to cope with the soft-top made the convertible feel heavy at low speed and it took me a while to adapt my driving.
The weather had cleared on Sunday afternoon so I could retract the roof and enjoy the autumnal sun. The fabric roof gets five layers over the 1 Series’ four and even with the roof on, there is enough head room in the rear two seats for adults. As to interiors, Audi wins for its clean appearance, with the BMW feeling dated.