Driving thrills out in the open with BMW 4 Series Convertible
- Credit: Iain Dooley
BMW has taken the top off its 4 Series Coupe and, in 435i guise, added some extra spice to the open-air motoring experience. Iain Dooley, of the Press Association, lifts the lid on the new model.
The lack of a fixed roof is, unsurprisingly, the most obvious change to this 4 Series model. In keeping with the old 3 Series Convertible, the 4 Series retains the metal folding hard-top, too.
Naturally you can expect the 4 Series drop-top to offer coupe-like driving thrills thanks to the work done by BMW engineers to maintain a rigid and rattle-free body.
And, in top-spec 435i M Sport guise, there's no shortage of go from this particular 4 Series Convertible. With a 3.0-litre turbo petrol motor producing 306bhp you'd expect nothing less from BMW.
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As a BMW convertible there's little to disappoint here. The 4 Series range takes much of its design direction from the now well-established latest-generation 3 Series saloon, which means a low bonnet line and a wide, purposeful stance.
And it's all very much like the 3 Series inside. Plush materials complement the expertly laid-out cabin. And, in traditional BMW fashion, there's no shortage of options when it comes to trim – be that colour or choice of materials.
Space and practicality
Like so many new cars, the 4 Series Convertible is a little bigger than the one it replaces. This will be good news for anyone having to sit in the back as there's now a fraction more room. Don't get too excited as it really is only a fraction more.
If you're already wincing at the prospect of squeezing your shopping into the boot when the roof is down, then don't. BMW's genius has resulted in a clever feature whereby the roof mechanism can be vertically lifted out of the way despite being folded, thus releasing ample room to load the boot.
Behind the wheel
This is what it's all about with a BMW.
Despite the addition of a fancy folding roof and the associated extra weight and complexity, the 4 Series proves to be an engaging and refined mode of transport. The flagship 435i is certainly brisk, while M Sport trim adds not just a few cosmetic enhancements but also welcome tweaks to the car's suspension to keep keen drivers happy.
The car's turbo charged six-cylinder motor eagerly spins up without a hint of lag, while it's also content to take a back seat if you just want to gently cruise along the motorway. Although tested in manual gearbox form, BMW's eight-speed automatic is probably the smarter choice as it offers the best of both worlds – auto for everyday use and manual mode when you want some fun.
Value for money
A convertible – at any price point – is always going to be an aspirational purchase. That said, in the premium market the 4 Series is a good choice.
Standard kit levels are generous, engines are more frugal than before and, being a sought-after model, they hold their money well on the used market.
Who would buy one?
Anyone seeking the desirable combination of open-air motoring and an engaging driving experience would do well to put the 4 Series Convertible at the top of their list. Other drop-tops might look good but they fail to match BMW's offering for pace and driver appeal. The 435i has plenty of both, yet even the lesser models manage to appeal to both the head and the heart.
This car summed up in a single word – sophisticated.