There is not a lot of choice out there if you’re after four seat drop top motoring. BMW has a 35 year plus history of convertibles with its compact 3 Series. A few years ago the 3 Series Convertible morphed in to the 4 Series Convertible and this week we are testing it in 420i M Sport guise. Our 184hp/300nm 2-litre petrol fuelled test car doesn’t have outrageous power yet weighs in just shy of an eye watering €80,000. The big question is does it offer value for money?
The new hard top BMW 4 Series coupe is a sleek looking car. Surprisingly the Convertible with its roof up looks dam fine too and features a unique silhouette. That said it should be illegal to drive a soft top roof up without a doctor’s cert! Compared to the old version the cloth-roofed 4 is 4,768mm long (+128mm), its width has increased by 27mm to 1,852mm and its wheelbase has grown by 41mm to 2,851mm. With the roof up the car is 1,384mm tall. It also features a wider track (+28mm front, +18 mm rear) that helps the car have a nice squat stance on the road. The body is stiffer too – aiding torsional rigidity.
The 4 Series Convertible is clearly an elegant class act. Put the roof down and the car’s lines really catch the eye. Even the 4’s controversial new grille looks good topless. The Convertible, especially M Sport versions feature lots of little aero design elements but the body form overall is simple and classic. Of course the driver and passenger will have the best driving experience with the least buffeting from wind turbulence. The two rear seat occupants will have a more blustery experience and as its a BMW we say – sod them who cares 😉
With the windows up the roof-down cabin is quite civilised. The 420i Convertible can easily be an all year round car. It has a good cabin heater (4-zone auto climate control), heated seats, *heated steering wheel and *heated neck scarf (*options) that combine to make the driving experience on the coldest day or night truly pleasurable. At every opportunity we had the electric roof down and when the odd rain shower came along we simply pushed a button to raise the roof. The roof is 40% lighter and stronger than before too. The open or close operation can be done in just 18 seconds – while stopped or when travelling at modest urban speeds up to 50km/h. The boot is bigger, gaining 85 litres, to hold up to 385 litres with the roof up.
Our dark green car delivered an understated premium experience. Cost options added to the premium feel with a HUD (head up display), LED ‘Laserlights’ headlights and Warm Air Collar to name a few. The drive was made that bit more Beemer-like with the optional M Sport Pro package that added M Adaptive suspension and 19 inch alloys. The big wheels look great (don’t they all!) but on poor road surfaces can be a little ‘crashy’ so note the possibly of passengers spilling their Pimms. All 4 Series Convertible have eight-speed ‘Steptronic’ automatic gearboxes. On our test car a ‘sport automatic’ gearbox was standard that featured sharper shift dynamics, and shift paddles on the steering wheel. It also featured a new Sprint function. We also had variable sport steering fitted that is always engaging. In the 4 Series convertible you can simply chill behind the wheel, cruise along or if you wish drive with enthusiasm and the 4 will oblige… we cruised (mostly). 0-100 in the 420i takes 8.2 seconds and top speed is 236km/h. Fuel consumption is quoted at 5.7-6.1 L/100km combined and CO2 emissions are 131-140g/km.
BMW Ireland offers four Convertible engine options: 420i, 430i, 440i xDrive (AWD) petrol and a 420d diesel. The BMW 4 Series M Sport Convertible starts at €67,056. Our car had a few options: Sanremo Green paint (€1,007), Technology pack (€2,856), Visibility pack (€2255), Comfort pack (€2,029), M Sport Pro pack (€3,458) that brought the total to: €79,640. The asking price contains a heap of taxes but is the 4 Series Convertible worth it? Yes!