The convertible lacks the clinical precision of its coupe brethren but is more fun because of it. Extrovert behaviour to match the looks is wholly appropriate for the potent soft top roadster. the M235i – the latter is the first BMW convertible to earn the M Performance upgrades and it’s the one we’re driving.
The only real rival to the 2 Series convertible is Audi’s A3 cabriolet line-up, headlined by the S3 performance variant.
The all-wheel-drive S3 is half a second slower to 100km/h than the BMW … but it’s also $15,000 cheaper.
ON THE ROAD
HERE’S another free piece of advice for would-be convertible converts: keep clear of livestock trucks.
The smell and the seepage don’t interact well with top-down driving.
All of the above is still the case in a regular car but without a roof and windows the impact is more pronounced.
Top-down driving tends to ruffle the hair unless the optional $570 wind deflector is fitted but surprisingly little cold air is driven farther down.
Even on brisk mornings – and by brisk I mean single-digit temperatures – I was happy to drop the M235i’s lid and let the seat heaters and aircon shield me from the chill.
UNDER THE BONNET
THE six-cylinder turbo is a bastion of the Beemer range, used in every- thing from the 1 Series to the X5 – it is insane fun in any application, especially with an M Performance badge affixed to the bootlid.
In most applications this powerhouse is tuned for 225kW/400Nm but the wick has been turned up for 240kW/450Nm here.
The issue then isn’t how fast the M235i goes but how quickly the engine’s torque can flex the compromised chassis.
And compromised is a relative term, given the amount of buttressing and bracing hidden under the convertible’s panels, not to mention the fact it runs on lowered and stiffened M Sport suspension.
It takes third world road surfaces and serious speed before you can feel the body flex.
Even then it is more shimmy than shake and certainly not going to throw you off line mid-corner.
What can catch you out is the engine’s willingness to spin and slide the rear tyres in Sport Plus mode.
It is progressive and endlessly repeatable without requiring the reactions of a Formula One driver in the front seat.
Find a series of corners that haven’t been turned into corrugated bitumen and the M235i is as much fun as you can ask for this side of $100K.