What am I looking at?
Essentially, it’s the recently revealed BMW 4-Series Coupe, sans roof. Well, sans permanent roof – like its predecessor, the 4-Series Convertible is sticking with the retractable folding hard top formula.
What does it replace?
Minus one from its model name and you’ll have the old car. BMW has decided all its sporting, coupe and convertible models will have even numbered names from now on, while its range of more practical saloons and SUVs will stick with odd numbers. The 4-Series is a little larger but a little lower than its predecessor.
So what’s new?
The styling, following on from the current 3-Series and latest 4-Series, is more aggressive front and rear, but also a little leaner – you could almost convince people it’s a bona-fide sports car rather than a repmobile with its roof cut off. That new roof retracts in just 20 seconds and can be operated at up to 8 mph – some other convertibles are quicker, but since you’ll be doing it to show off in traffic, it’s probably speedy enough.
What powers it?
Just three engines for now – two petrols and a diesel. Most potent is the 306-horse 435i Luxury, but economy hasn’t been forgotten at almost 35 mpg. Next down the chain is the 2.0-litre turbocharged 428i SE with a 6.4-second 0-60 time and 41 mpg economy, while the diesel 420d SE is likely to be popular with a near-8 second 0-60 mph sprint and mid-fifties economy.
Once you’ve chosen your engine, you can then jazz it up with BMW’s usual selection of trim lines – the “entry level” SE, followed by Sport, Modern, Luxury and M Sport. Kit varies between each but it’s pretty much as you’d expect – Luxury is all about chrome and wood, Sport features glossy plastics and liberal use of the colour red. M Sport will almost certainly ruin the ride quality as it has on most BMWs of the last decade or so.
How much will it cost me?
Uncommonly, diesel is cheapest here and therefore ideal for penny-pinchers – it kicks off the range in SE trim for £36,675. These rise all the way to £44,970 for the 435i in Luxury trim. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with an 8-speed auto an option on all engines.
What could I buy instead?
Since Mercedes-Benz offers no C-Class convertible, the 4-Series’ closest rival is the Audi A5 convertible. It’s had a bit of a spruce up recently and still looks great, though we’d not be surprised to see the BMW walking away with group tests on handling, as the A5 isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. Like-for-like, pricing is a little less – a 177-horsepower 2.0 TDI SE starts at £34,225 and offers a few more mpg into the bargain.
When can I buy one?
The 4-Series Convertible goes on sale from March 8th next year.
In a line?
Yummy mummy or charging into a mid-life crisis? Here is your next car.