£35,025 - £49,605 Price range
39 - 64 MPG
Despite the change in name, the 4 Series convertible is a direct replacement for the 3 Series convertible; the even number now signifying those models in BMW’s range with only two doors.
Reviews are generally positive, praising the relaxed nature of the driving experience which complements a cabriolet well. However, the added weight over the coupe leaves testers feeling a little cold when it comes to the driving experience.
The convertible’s interior is largely similar to the 4 Series Coupe, which in turn is very similar to the 3 Series saloon. That means you’ll find a well laid out, solidly built cabin, which by cabriolet standards is quite roomy.
One thing to consider from a practical point of view is that the elegant metal folding roof takes up much of the boot volume when folded away, leaving only 220 litres to spare. With the roof up, the boot offers up 370 litres of space, which is a negligible ten litres less than the Audi A5.
Wind buffeting can be a problem, though testers have noted that with the wind blocker raised, the turbulence is reduced. When it’s fitted, however, it prevents anyone from sitting in the back seats. So, smart hair or more friends, it’s your choice – we’d pick the hair every time!
Of course, chopping the roof off a car will weaken the structure, so BMW has gone to great lengths to make the chassis more rigid. This all adds weight though, and when combined with the workings of the folding roof, the convertible carries a 295kg penalty over its coupe brother.
As a result, the driving experience feels rather more ponderous, and it creates a car much more suited to cruising than one that enjoys pounding around a racetrack. Despite that, testers say it still out-handles its rivals, with one pointing out that the Beemer is “still a slightly sharper drive than the Audi A5 Cabriolet and Mercedes.”
Ride quality is universally liked. As one tester puts it, the 4 Series is “a good car for wafting around in,” and “the ride is decent”.
There are three engines available in the 4 Series convertible; two petrols and one diesel.
A 181hp 2.0-litre diesel sits at the bottom of the range, followed by the twin-turbo 2.0-litre petrol in the 428i, while the range is rounded off by a 3.0-litre turbo petrol. This top 435i model produces 306hp, and can hit 62mph from a standstill in 5.5 seconds. Despite the strong figures, many testers feel that due to the mass that the engine has to shift about, it never feels that quick as one would hope.
BMW’s latest range of engines are all very efficient, and claimed economy figures of 55.4mpg for the 420d certainly seem to verify this. Unfortunately many reviewers complain that this engine sounds very rattly by modern diesel standards, which hardly fits in with the laid-back vibe of an open-top car.
Each engine is available with a smooth-shifting automatic gearbox, which delivers near-identical performance figures to manual equivalents, while offering marginally improved fuel economy figures.
The 4 Series Convertible comes well-equipped with six airbags as standard.
You’ll also find the run-of-the-mill anti lock brakes and stability controls combined with more advanced features like a lane-departure warning system and an anti-fatigue warning, which senses the driver’s alertness and recommends breaks if it thinks you’re drowsy.
The saloon variant, the 3 Series, received five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and it is a safe bet the 4 Series could score very similarly.
At this point, a buyer must consider how highly they value the pleasure of open-top motoring. That’s because the convertible carries a substantial premium of between £4,000 and £6,000 over the 4 Series coupe. For many people, the added style will be worth it, and we’re sure many will prefer the slightly more relaxed driving experience, too.
Prices are generally slightly more expensive than the equivalent Audi A5 cabriolet, but several thousand pounds cheaper than the (admittedly larger) Mercedes E-Class cabriolet. Residuals are fairly strong, and the decent fuel economy figures should help keep running costs down to a reasonable level.
From a subjective point of view, the 4 Series convertible is not as accomplished as the coupe on which it is based. The less rigid chassis combined with the added weight has resulted in a car which is both slower and less fun to drive.
However, many would argue that driving thrills aren’t really a point of a car like this, and the BMW does some things very well. It’s refined, well built and stylish, and is still at least as capable as rivals from Audi and Mercedes from behind the wheel.
If driving thrills are your thing, we’d recommend looking elsewhere. For most other people, this is a car certainly worth giving a second look.