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About Mark

Mark Holgate is the driving force behind Exhaust Notes Australia, one of this country's premier automotive websites, with in excess of 1 million visits every year, and literally hundreds of car reviews and motoring stories.

With more than 20 years experience as a journalist, and five years as a professional blogger, he brings a wealth of knowledge about cars, bikes and everything in between.

Is the 2018 BMW 230i Convertible this summer's coolest car? The boys from Exhaust Notes took it for a blast to find out.

Are you ready for summer? If you said yes, and you haven’t thought about owning a 2018 BMW 230i Convertible, your life might actually not be complete, because this could just be the best bit of summer fun on the road.

Topless and famous.

Topless and famous... well at least topless - the 2018 BMW 230i Convertible

Powered by the BMW TwinPower 2.0-litre turbo 4-cylinder, which features a twin-scroll turbocharger, high-precision injection, valvetronic variable-valve control and double-VANOS variable camshaft control, the 230i pushes out 185kW of power and 350Nm of torque in a very tidy package capable of a 5.9 second 0-100km/h time.

Read more from Exhaust Notes Australia: 2017 Lotus Exige 350 Sport is raw, dirty

It’s coupled with an eight-speed sport automatic transmission, with gearshift paddles on the steering wheel, launch control, and gearshift indicator for manual mode. When combined with the car’s rear-wheel-drive system, it makes this bucket-loads of fun to drive, particularly in Sport+ mode, where its performance pedigree shines.

It’s especially comfortable, particularly on a long drive. As a sports coupe with a retractable roof, the team at Exhaust Notes Australia really liked what the BMW was offering up in terms of comfort, despite the fact it’s only a two door – because the doors are so long it’s easy to get in and out of.

It’s practical, too, with more than enough room for a family grocery shop in the boot, in spite of the roof housing -- as long as you don’t have six kids or your rear-seat passengers who are 180cm tall. But let’s face it, the 230i is aimed at couples, or smaller family units with maybe one or two smaller children.

Our resident five-year-old was a massive fan of putting the roof down and cranking the tunes. And that, right there, is the key to the 2018 BMW 230i Convertible. It’s fun. Fun to drive, fun to look at, fun to simply mess about on your way to the beach in. Fun to listen to music in. It’s even fun in the rain, with the roof up.

The LCI model, which is essentially BMW’s way of saying a midlife cycle update, gets LED headlights as part of its new look and feel, along with one-piece LED tail lights, with some shiny new wheel options and an expansion of the colour pallet. Our test car was fitted with the new 18-inch, V-spoke style 387 light-alloy wheels.

BMW’s new iDrive 6, 8.8-inch infotainment system is also new to the 2018 230i, as is a range of new stitching, chrome trim finishes, and a new-look centre console. There’s a 14-speaker Harman-Kardon sound system, too. In fact, the upgrade and specs list is quite extensive and worth a wrap up.

On board in the Luxury Line edition of 2018 BMW 230i Convertible are fine-wood ‘Fineline’ interior trims with silver-oxide matte highlights, chrome line exteriors, exclusive chrome trims, switchable ambient interior lighting, heated electric seats and Dakota leather upholstery – in cognac and brown in the case of our test car.

It also gets DAB+ digital radio capability, interior and exterior mirrors with anti-dazzle function, automatic climate control, rear-view camera, front and rear-park distance control, and BMW ConnectedDrive, which provides a suite of assistance functions including ConnectedDrive services, remote services, tele-services, emergency e-call and real-time traffic information.

Safety is paramount here, with six airbags including dual-front, front-side and rear-side protection, ABS, ESC, pre-collision and pedestrian warning, lane-departure warning, low-speed autonomous emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view camera.

On the down side, there are minor issues, things that are more noticeable because the rest of the car is such a complete package. The retractable roof means increased road noise and, while it’s better than expected, it’s definitely there.

It’s an under-performer in terms of engine idle and general engine noise in Comfort and Eco mode, as we found that when we got off the gas, the idle sounded very noisy and a little spluttery, but that could be down to the tuning. The test car was quite rattly and we noticed a number over rougher roads.

It’s also dearer than some of its rivals, as well as some performance model options in the BMW stable, including the M140i. We found the airconditioning and ventilation controls a little painful to get right. But if we were an owner, I’m sure we’d have got the hang of it.

The 2018 BMW 230i Luxury Line Convertible comes in 10 colours, including Seaside Blue (as tested), Mineral White, Alpine White, Black, Melbourne Red, Glacier Silver, Black Sapphire, Mineral Grey, Sparkling Brown, Mediterranean Blue and Sunset Orange. 

It’s priced at just over $79,000 drive away, depending on the options you choose.

Our 2018 BMW 230i Luxury Line Convertible (LCI) was supplied by BMW Australia. To find out more, your local BMW dealer.

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