First Drive: 2015 BMW 228i Convertible

Hot or cold, BMW’s 228i Convertible offers entry-level luxury ‘vert poise and charm

The drop-top only improves the already superb 2 Series, as it retains its sporty dynamics and conservative style.

Go-getting Millennials have recently been achieving a certain level of success. Accordingly, this has heated up the entry-level luxury market here in the U.S., as the Gen-Y-ers shop for something that says, “I haven’t quite made it, but I’m well on my way.”

Audi’s A3 as well as the Mercedes-Benz CLA have been rattling their sabers loudly as contenders, but BMW claims the 1 Series has long since made it king of the hill.

Its follow-up, the 2 Series, hit the streets last year and was exceptionally received, as it offered everything the predecessor brought and improved upon it. Now, it adds that extra exuberant touch with the debut of the 2 Series convertible.


The 2015 BMW 228i Convertible, as the cabriolet variant of the entry level 2 Series Coupe. The Convertible packs a 2.0-liter twin turbo four-cylinder engine with direct injection that produces 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque.

Exterior styling is everything you’d expect from BMW: low slung and solid, with a sharp contour line cutting across the side and retains a compact look without appearing constrictive. Its top-down configuration shows off its flat shoulder profile, wrapping the soft-top compartment around the rear passenger, emulating a boat-deck-like appearance. The expressive front refines the look of BMW’s entry-level convertible, looking more playful than the outgoing 1 Series, which had more stout and chunky features.

2015 BMW 228i convertible side roof up

The interior delivers everything that a BMW would promise: an easy-to-reach iDrive controller with a 6.5-inch flatscreen display on the dashboard, stacked on top of climate controls and a media interface. The interface drivers will be focusing on, however, is the three-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel, wrapped in leather and sporting some attractive contrast stitching. The touch points aren’t the most luxurious found in a BMW, but the lack of a leather-swathed dashboard doesn’t mean the interior feels at all like a budget Bimmer.

It seats four, as long as the wind deflector isn’t in use, but the rear passengers will be toughing out the ride more than anything.

Out for a spin

Taking out a convertible out for a spin when most of the country is blanketed by the most dismal of winters probably isn’t the best idea. Delightfully, though, BMW brought me to relatively balmy Austin, Texas to test the new 2 Series ‘Vert. And, should I ever feel a bit nippy, my tester was fitted with heated seats.

Whatever I asked if it, the 228i responded dutifully.

Interestingly, with the wind deflector in place, the cold air skirts right over the top and keeps out of the cabin, keeping things relatively warm while on the move. When things got a little too breezy the soft top took less than 20 seconds to deploy.

Even as I slightly mistimed how long I had at a red light, the top can still continue to operate in either direction on the move, as long as the car stays under 30 mph. Once it’s up, there’s a surprising level of head clearance available, so there wasn’t a feeling of overbearing confinement once the top was raised.

Speaking of on the move, the open top four-seater can move when you want it to. 240 horsepower coming out of the 228i’s 2.0-liter twin turbo four-banger may not be the most impressive sounding amount when it comes to European sports car, but the BMW uses every ounce of it to the fullest degree. Off the line, the convertible can take off from 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds, which can be achieved via the built in launch control function.

2015 BMW 228i convertible engine

Once I tired of leisurely cruising, I dialed up the drive settings through a switch adjacent to the gear selector. Now in Sport mode, flipping through eight transmission gears with the aluminum paddle shifters, as I kept the throttle welded to the floor, I was treated to satisfactory punch with each gear change.

The car feels perfectly suited to the 228i’s power output. Yes, buyers can step up to a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine with 320 hp. The extra punch of the top-end engine doesn’t automatically make the 228i redundant. It’s pleasant in a leisurely drive as well as things get spirited, not once leading to me wishing for more power.

Flipping through eight gears with the aluminum paddle shifters has a satisfactory punch to each flick.

The precision-tuned chassis that includes a double-pivot front suspension and a five-link rear defines much of the performance. The exceptional handling of the Convertible, though, is thanks in large part to its improved rigidity over its hardtop counterpart, as well as its low center of gravity. The 2 Series also has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, too, so ultimately, whatever I asked if it, the 228i responded dutifully.

The 228i’s starting price is around $38,850. While the base car is perfectly sufficient, the packages of optional equipment i.e. the fun stuff can quickly send that number on an upward trajectory in a hurry. For instance, the Sport Line package opens a performance door I didn’t even know was closed in the first place.

This optional extra package adds a few luxury treats, as well as M sport suspension, but also ups the electronically limited top speed from 130 mph to 155 mph. Are we talking about a 25 mph difference that will ever be used by 97 percent of 228i buyers? Hardly. It seems too insidious to go without mention, though.


Of all the innocuous additional extra, the most essential, I wager, is the Technology Package, which adds a navigation system with a neat trick up its sleeve: an integrated SIM card that will live update the maps over the air as you drive.

As tested, my BMW 228i came out to $53,825, as it had most of the fancy stuff bolted to it. That said, it’s competitively priced with its other German compact executive counterparts to a very close degree. It doesn’t drastically surpass them as a whole, but it does make the choice between the three very much more difficult.

The 228i convertible isn’t the fastest or the most luxurious BMW, but it’s still BMW and its poise, charm, and luxuriousness are top notch.


  • Tight, sporty handling
  • Excellent power balance from the turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Fast deploying soft-top with plenty of headroom
  • Conservative but stylish: The “business casual” car


  • A litany of optional extras send the price skyrocketing
  • No manual option without opting for the top-tier trim
Product Review

If you don't know about Genesis yet, the G70 is going to change that

The 2019 Genesis G70 is Korea’s first attempt to take on the vaunted German trio of BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Competition doesn’t come much tougher than that.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.

See the hotly anticipated 2020 Toyota Supra in motion before its unveiling

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.