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BMW 4 Series Convertible review

The BMW 4 Series Convertible packs impressive handling, a smooth ride, impressive engines and an open-top driving experience that’s perfect for sunny days. So it’s a pity it looks the way it does

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wowscore
8/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of
This score is awarded by our team of

What's good

  • Convertible roof great for sunny days
  • Impressive ride and handling
  • Smooth, powerful performance

What's not so good

  • Styling is a bit controversial
  • Convertible roof eats into boot space
  • Some options only come in pricey packs

BMW 4 Series Convertible: what would you like to read next?

Is the BMW 4 Series Convertible a good car?

The BMW 4 Series Convertible is a posh drop-top that goes up against roofless versions of the Mercedes C-Class Coupe and Audi A5. It’s a hoot to drive on a twisty road, can seat four adults in reasonable comfort, and makes for a rather fantastic long-distance cruiser.

Provided you can get on board with that buck-toothed front end (comparisons have been made to everything from an angry beaver to the original Predator), you’ll find it to be a very tough car to dislike. Think of it like you would a plate of haggis: it might not look too appetising on the surface, but give it a chance and you’ll find that it’s properly delicious.

There are a number of reasons for this. For starters, its cabin is a really plush, comfortable place to spend time (at least it is up front). Practically all the surfaces that are directly in your eyeline are finished in expensive feeling leather or other soft-touch materials; and everything feels really well-screwed together. The infotainment system is tip-top, there’s decent storage, and the front seats are really comfy too.

Of course, with only two doors instead of four, climbing into the back seats is a bit more of an effort than it is in the regular 3 Series saloon to which this car is so closely related, and there isn’t as much passenger space back there either. Boot space also takes a pretty hefty hit because of the folding roof, but there’s still enough room for four adults and a small amount of weekend luggage to fit inside in reasonable comfort.

Still, that slight dip in practicality is easy enough to forgive when you get it out on the road. As with the 4 Series Coupe, you can have the drop-top model with a couple of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines (there’s a six-cylinder diesel too), as well as a smooth, powerful six-cylinder petrol model called the M440i xDrive.

The six-cylinder M440i xDrive petrol model is a peach to drive and makes a great noise, but one of the four-cylinder models will probably make more sense in the real world.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

We opted for the latter for our test drive, and if you can stomach the near £60,000 asking price and heightened fuel consumption, then you should. Not only does it lend the 4 Series fantastic pace in a straight line, the 374hp engine also sounds great when you’ve got the roof down and (not too much) wind in your hair.

It rides well, too. Our range-topping M440i gets adaptive dampers as standard, which let you choose between a softer suspension setting for motorway cruising; or a firmer set-up for when you want to have a bit of fun on a twisty road. It’s a pretty fantastic driving machine in both environments, so it’s a pity that the lower-rung models don’t get the adaptive dampers as standard. Instead, they get BMW’s fixed M Sport set up, which is a bit on the firm side at low speeds.

You’ll have to fork out £2,300 for the M Sport Pro Pack if you want those fancy adaptive dampers, and the desirable (but expensive) options list doesn’t end there. Adaptive cruise control comes as part of the £3650 Technology Plus Pack; and the Comfort Pack (which includes a heated steering wheel and a wind deflector) is £1350.

All of that makes the BMW 4 Series Convertible a pretty pricey car – particularly if you opt for the range-topping M440i xDrive and add in a few options. But it’s tough to deny just how enjoyable it is to drive in practically all environments.

So if you can get on board with the toothy looks, then why not take a look at our BMW 4 Series Convertible deals to see how much you can save through carwow? You can also watch our review of the 4 Series Coupe by clicking on the video below.

How practical is it?

You’ll be able to fit four adults in easily enough, but it’s not as comfortable as the 4 Series coupe. Boot space takes a hit too

Boot (seats up)
385 litres
Boot (seats down)
-

All versions of the 4 Series Convertible come with chunky sports seats as standard. They’re generously bolstered to keep you held in place when you’re on a twisty road, but they’re also soft and supportive enough to ensure you remain comfortable over longer journeys too. You can adjust them electronically too, so getting settled in behind the thick-rimmed M Sport steering wheel is an easy process.

The back seats aren’t quite as comfortable, obviously, but there’s still enough in the way of kneeroom and headroom to keep averagely tall adult passengers happy – even if those seats are set a bit more upright than they are in the coupe model. Still, if you’re short of headroom in the back, a press of a button is all you need to fold the roof away and open the cabin up to the elements.

Of course, with only two doors instead of the four you get on the closely related 3 Series Saloon getting in the back is a bit more of a process, but at least you can make life a bit easier by retracting the roof first.

The front half of the cabin doesn’t come up short on space for any random bits and bobs that you might want to bring along with you. The door bins are a good size and can hold an average-sized drink bottle easily enough, and there are plenty of storage trays and cubbies on the centre console.

You won’t be too poorly catered for in the second row, either. In place of a traditional middle seat you’ll find two cupholders, and there are a couple of storage bins just behind the front doors too.

This is where the convertible 4 Series takes a bit of a hit over the coupe model. Where the hard-top car gets a handy 440-litre boot, the convertible has to make do with a smaller 385-litre boot.

That drop in usable space is down to the fact that the convertible roof effectively folds away into the top of the boot itself. So if you want an open-air experience in your 4 Series, just know that you won’t be able to bring quite as much luggage along with you than if you’d gone for the coupe.

The boot opening itself is pretty narrow too, and because the roof mechanism sort of hangs down into the boot cavity, loading bulky items such as solid suitcases could be tricky. Soft weekend bags will fit just fine though.

What's it like to drive?

Comfortable at a cruise and fun on a twisty road – the 4 Series Convertible is an impressive all-rounder. You’ll have to pay extra for clever suspension, though

Unsurprisingly, the 4 Series Convertible gets the same choice of engines as the regular 4 Series coupe – but that’s no bad thing.

So there are a handful of 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol and diesel power plants to choose from, with outputs ranging from 184hp to 258hp. The 190hp 420d diesel will be a good choice if you spend a lot of time on the motorway and need to prioritise frugal efficiency; while the 258hp 430i petrol will be a bit more enjoyable on a twisty road but will drink a bit more.

If you really want to treat yourself, there are a couple of six-cylinder diesel and petrol engines available too. The 286hp 430d blends plenty of usable performance with decent enough fuel efficiency on longer runs, but it’s not quite as frugal as its four-cylinder counterpart.

Then there’s the range-topping M440i xDrive, which gets a 374hp six-cylinder petrol engine and will hit 60mph from a standstill in 4.9sec. It’s currently the quickest 4 Series Convertible available (and the only one with four-wheel drive), but that additional performance comes with a pretty healthy appetite for fuel – we certainly didn’t hit BMW’s claimed figure of 38.2mpg during our time with the car.

With the roof down and its standard-fit adaptive suspension set to the comfiest setting, the M440i xDrive makes for an impressively relaxing drive around town. It doesn’t crash over potholes and bumps in the road too badly (though there is still an obvious performance car streak here), visibility is really good – particularly out the back, and the steering is nicely weighted and very accurate.

At lower speeds there isn’t much wind buffeting at all, and even when you’re travelling at a quicker pace you can only really feel the very top of your head being blown around by the wind. And if you happen to find that slight amount of buffeting to be a bit too much, you can option the £1350 Comfort Pack, which adds a wind deflector into the mix. This also includes a heated steering wheel and a ‘warm air collar’ that blows, well, warm air on your neck from the headrest.

With the roof in place the M440i xDrive remains really very comfortable out on the motorway, even if its standard-fit run-flat tyres do make quite a lot of noise at pace. Still, there’s not a lot of wind noise, and those adaptive dampers soak up practically everything a faster motorway will throw at it. This is a really, really good long-distance cruiser.

That said, it’s at it’]s most entertaining on a twisty road. With no roof and a bit less structural rigidity than its coupe counterpart, it’s perhaps not quite as sharp through the bends, but the steering is really nicely weighted and the car goes exactly where you point it. Firm the suspension up and it doesn’t roll about too much, and thanks to four-wheel-drive there’s a healthy amount of grip on offer too – even when conditions underfoot are a bit slippery.

But it might well be the six-cylinder petrol engine you enjoy the most. With the roof down and the car in sport mode, you can really take in its aggressive growl, and marvel at just how smoothly it accelerates. The eight-speed automatic transmission is impressively responsive too, and you can change gears manually via the paddles on the steering wheel if you really want to rev the engine out.

What's it like inside?

The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t have the flashiest cabin in the world, but it’s well made and the material selection is tip-top

BMW 4 Series Convertible colours

BMW Individual metallic paint - Aventurine red III
Free
BMW Individual metallic paint - Dravit grey
Free
BMW Individual metallic paint - Tanzanite blue
Free
Metallic - Artic race blue
Free
Metallic - Black sapphire
Free
Metallic - Brooklyn grey
Free
Metallic - Mineral white
Free
Metallic - Portimao blue
Free
Metallic - Sanremo green
Free
Solid - Alpine white
Free
BMW Individual frozen paint - Frozen portimao blue
From £2,985
Next Read full interior review
Buy a new or used BMW 4 Series Convertible at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £45,800 - £59,670 Avg. carwow saving £5,029 off RRP
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