The BMW 4 Series Convertible is a comfortable cruiser with a fantastic infotainment system and driver conveniences. Unfortunately, the alternatives are faster and have bigger boots.
The BMW 4 Series Convertible is a well-equipped alternative to the Audi A5 Cabriolet and Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, even though its cramped rear seats and compromised storage space with the roof down can limit its practicality.
The car’s exterior styling features the manufacturer’s iconic ‘kidney’ grille and sleek headlights, while the interior is a carbon copy of the regular 4 Series coupe’s cabin – which itself was lifted from the 3 Series saloon. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing interior, at times appearing overly busy, but you can’t deny its excellent functionality.
The infotainment system is BMW’s iDrive, fitted with rotary controls and a 6.5-inch screen (10 inches on the higher-spec M Sport version). This system remains incredibly intuitive and easy-to-use, even on the go, outdoing the infotainment of all its alternatives.
The majority of the materials inside arehigh-quality, while the two front seats are very comfortable to sit in over long journeys. However, rear passengers won’t have as much of a ball in the 4 Series Convertible, as the back seats are very limited on space.
These problems continue in the boot. With the roof up, it has a reasonable 370-litre capacity – ten litres more than a C-Class Cabriolet. However, once the roof is folded down, this shrinks down to 220 litres. Granted, this is still enough room for a weekly shop, but a C-Class Cabriolet offers a usefully larger 285 litres of space with its roof down.
The 4 Series Convertible is a good-looking open-top for those who want to comfortably and stylishly cruise along in the sun.
Fortunately, kit-wise, the 4 Series Convertible is well-equipped. Conveniences that are standard across the range include satnav, real-time traffic updates, automatic air conditioning and internet connectivity. There are also universal safety features like Emergency Call – automatically calling emergency services if you crash – front and rear parking sensors, and automatic start/stop. The only irritating downside is that Apple CarPlay connectivity costs extra.
There a number of engines available for the 4 Series Convertible. The entry-level 420i petrol engine goes from 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds – considerably slower than other open-top alternatives and even the regular 4 Series coupe. Getting one with a 440i petrol engine will let it go from 0-62mph in just 5.4 seconds, but will prove dearer to run. For a balance of economy and performance, the mid-range 430i is a worthwhile recommendation. The diesel 430d and 435d xDrive can both reach impressive speeds and are even more economical, but they’re much more expensive to buy.
Regardless of engine choice, the convertible mixes a smooth suspension with a rigid body to create a comfortable ride, even over Britain’s multitude of harsh, pothole-laden roads. The automatic gearbox is smooth as well, and stands head and shoulders above the manual option (which is only included with the diesel 420d engine).
So, yes, the 4 Series Convertible is slower and probably not as easy to live with day-to-day as others in its class. However, its comfort and appealing looks cannot be denied. For those who want a seasonal summer cruiser that lets you enjoy the sun in both comfort and style, it is a very worthwhile recommendation.