It just so happens that the BMW 2-Series is my favorite new BMW to come along in some time, because it's a spirited, compact rear-drive coupe that pays homage to the old 2002 with lots of modern amenities and performance. And for its second year on the market, it loses a top and gains all-wheel drive.

Perhaps as not to be totally outdone by Mercedes-Benz when it comes to grabbing headlines today, BMW has revealed its 2-Series convertible more than a month ahead of its official debut at the Paris Motor Show. How does it look? It looks like a 2-Series without a roof.

Not bad, I say. Not bad at all. Unlike its big brother the 4-Series convertible, this one has a retractable soft-top, much like its predecessor the old 1-Series convertible did. BMW says the top will go down in 20 seconds and that they've increased the torsional stiffness of the body structure so it's not a roly-poly mess.

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Like the coupe, the 2-Series 'vert comes in four-cylinder 228i and six-cylinder M235i forms, both turbocharged and packing 240 horsepower and 320 horsepower, respectively.

But the big news here is that they will have the option of xDrive all-wheel drive. That's something you never got on the old 1-Series, and it should do it a lot to help sell these things in wintry states.

Prices start at $38,850 for the 228i droptop, and you can add $2,000 to that for xDrive. The M235i convertible starts at $48,650. The xDrive version of the more powerful car is coming later, while the others will be available when it launches early next year.

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