BMW 230i M Sport

Convertible

Automatic

BMW 2 Series Convertible, front quarter
BMW 2 Series Convertible, beach
BMW 2 Series Convertible, dynamic
BMW 2 Series Convertible, rear
BMW 2 Series Convertible, interior
BMW 2 Series Convertible, profile
BMW 2 Series Convertible, front dynamic

SCRAPING ice off the windscreen on a bitterly cold early morning is not the image which usually springs to mind when you think of a sporty little drop top.

It is, however, what I found myself doing on a couple days during my tiime with BMW's baby 2 Series convertible.

I suppose that's what you should expect when you have a cabriolet in the middle of the British winter, though.

BMW's blurb claims that the fabric soft top smoothly lowers and raises in just 20 seconds at the touch of a button, and at speeds of up to just over 30mph.

I am sure it does - but with the weather fluctuating between frequent downpours and plunging temperatures, the button in question remained largely redundant.

However, if the inclement climatic conditions left me feeling decidedly gloomy - then driving around in this stylish and well-equipped pocket rocket soon put a smile back on my face.

The twin-turbo 2.0-litre 230i petrol power pack under the bonnet is only available with this range-topping M Sport trim and proves potent in such a small motor.

Kicking out 252ps it will, when paired with the super smooth eight-speed sport automatic transmission I had, get you from 0-62mph in well under six seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph - while still offering a claimed 45.6 miles per gallon on average.

M Sport specification also includes the stiffened and lowered M Sport suspension which provides rock solid grip and super sharp handling - in short, the sort of dynamic and engaging drive that BMW has become renowned for.

The pay off for all that control and performance is a slightly firm ride but this only really becomes an issue over the most badly pitted road surfaces - although there are plenty of those around these days - and you'll certainly want to avoid too many potholes.

But where road surface and conditions are good this is a real driver's car - responding enthusiastically to throttle input, offering good feedback through the direct and accurate steering and allowing you to push on with confidence.

Firm dabs on the gas pedal are accompanied by a satisfying growl but otherwise this compact convertible is surprisingly refined, with insulation in the fabric roof keeping exterior noise at bay and its aerodynamic design all but eliminating wind noise around the seals.

Practicality is not at the top of the list for most people contemplating buying a convertible, but the 2 Series does have a boot big enough for a couple of weekend bags.

It's also a four seater, of course, although a look at the compact rear seats and you may think that calling it a 2+2 would have been more accurate.

Our 11 and 13-year-old kids squeezed in but I had to move the driver's seat a little further forward than I'd ideally have liked to make room and adults wouldn't want to travel back there for all but the shortest trips.

That said, you don't even get the option of squeezing those extra bodies in with a roadster - and the 230i certainly offers the same sort of enjoyment as most two-seater drop tops out there.

FAST FACTS

BMW 230i M Sport Convertible Automatic

Price: £34,780

Mechanical: 252ps, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:155mph

0-62mph: 5.7 seconds

Combined MPG:45.6

Insurance Group: 33

C02 emissions:142g/km

Bik rating:25%

Warranty:3yrs/100,000 miles

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