Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Don Cheng
Holy moly, look at the price of this Bimmer - $56,190 is quite a hefty entrance fee into the topless German club. Fortunately, there are ways to bargain it down. You see, the 228i Cabriolet actually starts at $45,000. When I was handed the rampant list of options and prices for our 228i tester, my eyes gobbled over two pages of black bolded text littered with money signs and four digit numbers. Do you really need a fully loaded 228i to have a good time on the open road? Of course not, so we’re here to scrutinize the options list and see what you need and don’t need for the optimal driving experience.
First off, let’s talk a bit about the 2-series convertible. BMW’s open-top four-seater is the natural successor to the 1-series convertible, but it’s now beefier in almost every dimension. Length, width, and height - you name it. Everything has been dilated for good reason. The 2-series now has more rear seat legroom, more luggage space, the chassis is more rigid, and the interior is better insulated and quieter than its predecessor. The 2-series has also retained the charming looks of the 128i, but with softer lines that look less bubbly and hatchback-like. It’s a low-slung silhouette that looks beautiful whether the top is up or down. Equipped with the M Sport Package ($2,000), the 228i could even be mistaken for an M235i without all those tacky ///M badges littered inside and out.
As with the 128i convertible, the 228i makes use of a fabric soft-top roof. BMW says it retracts and folds 2 seconds faster than the 128i, but it still takes a full 20 seconds to lower. Now that might not seem like a long time, but when you start to feel the rain trickling on your cheek and the red light is about to turn green, every second feels like an eternity.
Furthermore, when you compare it to other soft-top convertibles like the 2015 Ford Mustang or the 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata that retract their roofs in 7 and 12 seconds respectively, the 228i operates like a snail on Diazepam. On the bright side, you can engage the roof even when you’re moving at speeds up to 50 km/h, whereas with the Mustang and Miata, you have to be fully stopped.
Nothing has changed under the hood; the 228i still makes use of BMW’s twin-scroll turbocharged inline-four. It’s a peachy engine and I praise it for the lack of turbo lag. Step on the pedal and the power delivers almost instantly. Peak torque comes as early as 1,450 rpm – no wonder why – and there’s such accessibility and linearity to how it behaves.
One of the things I loved most about the 128i Convertible was its tight and progressive steering feel that BMW was renowned for. With the introduction of electrically assisted steering for the 228i, a bit of the magic has been lost - the 128i just set the bar so high. There’s no limited-slip differential for the 228i either, but there’s a wealth of grip courtesy of xDrive, BMW-speak for all-wheel drive. The only penalty for sending power to all four wheels is that it adds an additional 64 kg of weight. Yet, despite not having a proper fixed roof, BMW has made the chassis incredibly rigid and there aren’t as many rattles or vibrations throughout the cabin as the 1-series. With the roof up, it actually feels like a solid coupe with a balanced chassis and a stout structure. Well done BMW.
Surprisingly, we’ve received complaints from our passengers (first world problems, I know) about the 228i’s exhaust sounding too quiet and muffled. They wanted some growl to their open-air experience, but I prefer it the way it is: a silent and anonymous cruiser. The 228i was also above average on fuel consumption. We’re averaging 10.2 L/100km – similar numbers to our high revving Subaru BRZ we tested last week. The start/stop system works brilliantly here, and we can attribute much of our fuel savings to that feature alone. You’ll never notice the engine cutting off, but the car will shudder a bit when it turns back on.
Now, let’s be candid and start talking about the options on our tester. The 228i Cabriolet is one of the most affordable ways to get into a Bavarian cruiser, but be wary. Like your online shopping cart at Uniqlo, BMW’s options can quickly stack up to a hefty bill. Let’s start off with the packages that affect the car’s looks and driving behaviour.
Our 228i comes with the aforementioned M Sport Line Package ($2000) that comes with 18-inch wheels, non-runflat tires (woohoo!), sport seats, an M leather steering wheel, and M235i-styled exterior fenders and bumpers. This is the one option you can’t do without. Those revised exterior bits are subtle but they make a huge difference in creating a sharper and more aggressive shape. And how could you live without that beefy M wheel?
Next up is the Performance Package ($1,200) that comes with Variable Sport Steering and an Adaptive M Suspension where you can choose between a comfortable ride or a sporty one. It also lowers the ride height by 10mm. There’s also an M Track Package ($1,200) on our 228i that hooks it up with larger blue brakes and performance tires. These packages will be as close as you get in turning your 228i into an M235i. You can do without these options unless you’re planning on throwing your convertible around a track.
After that is the Premium Package Enhanced ($3,695) that comes with creature comforts like a rear view camera, a heated steering wheel, electrically adjustable seats, park distance control, and navigation. But to be honest, if you have a smartphone with GPS and don’t need satellite radio or auto-dimming mirrors, stick with the Premium Package Essential ($2,500) that will save you $1,195. I would also do without the ConnectedDrive Services Package ($500) that hooks you up with 3G Internet and Real Time Traffic Information.
After you include the Glacier Silver Metallic exterior paint ($895) and the Coral Red Dakota Leather ($1,500), the total cost of our tester is $56,190. That’s $10,900 of options, more than the MSRP of a brand new Nissan Micra. Take our advice, skip the mentioned options, and the price tag will run you just shy of $50,000.
Shrouded in a bit of irony, it’s easier to think of the 228i Cabriolet as the compromise when your spouse wants you to buy the cheapest trim, but with a “few” creature comforts and luxury options that won’t blow your wallet. In fact, there’s something about this specifically optioned 228i that pleases everyone. It’s got AWD for chionophobic dwellers, a fabric roof that can be lowered for your hairdressers' delight, handling packages for the spirited track drivers, and it’s even got four seats to fit four adults, so the family man can squeeze in a few positive arguments to sign the dotted line.
If you have the cash, by all means, get a fully loaded 228i with all the bells and whistles. It will please your spouse and your spirited driving fantasies. But I think a lighter optioned 228i, equipped with xDrive and the Premium Package Essential, will provide a similar open-top experience, but at a cheaper rate.
型号 Model: 2015 BMW 228i xDrive Cabriolet
顏色 Paint Type: Glacier Silver Metallic ($895)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $45,200
試車售價 Price as Tested: $56,190
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,690
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,437 / 1,774 / 1,413
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,708
引擎 Engine: TwinPower Turbo inline-four cylinder engine
最大馬力 Horsepower: 241 hp @ 5,000 - 6,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1,450 - 4,800 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed ZF automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Vented disc
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 10.6 / 7.2 / 9.1
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 225/40ZR18 - Michelin Pilot Super Sport