The new BMW 4 Series Convertible is the latest entry to a market segment where BMW has enjoyed widespread acclaim and reputation over five generations of premium Convertibles. The design pattern introduced with the 4 Series Coupe is clearly followed in the second model debut in the series. The result is a sporting yet graceful car, whether the roof is raised or lowered, that is clearly distinguished from its 3 Series counterparts.
The BMW 4 Series Convertible engine line-up is expected to be mostly similar to that of the recently launched Coupe; this could include a 2.0-litre turbopetrol (180 kW/350 N.m) from the 428i, a 2,0-litre turbodiesel (135 kW/380 N.m) and possibly a range-topping 435i Convertible with a 3,0-litre, straight-six, turbopetrol developing 225 kW/400 N.m.
Obviously requiring an upgrade in size, the Convertible is around 25mm longer and 45mm wider than its predecessor, and will ride on the same 50mm longer wheelbase enjoyed by the recently launched Coupe. Moreover, the new BMW series will only have two doors, which mean that they have tried to minimise the interior weight of the car to maximize the performance of the engine. The bonnet is the only bit of the body that the BMW 4 Series shares with the 3 Series. The rest of the design that makes the car look sporty and powerful, such as the wide rear wheel arch and built in boot lid spoiler, is customized. The three-piece metal roof means that the passengers can relish in the snug warmth of the cockpit whatever the condition of the weather outside. A simple push of a button initiates a transformation from the dynamic coupe into an elegant convertible in just 20 seconds and can now be lowered even when the vehicle is travelling at speeds of up 8mph.
The convertible sports a significantly higher standard specification than that of the model it replaces. As standard, the 4 Series is fitted with front and rear parking sensors, heated electric front seats, Xenon headlights, a Sport-multi-function leather steering wheel and Servotronic steering. Dakota leather upholstery with SunReflective technology, Two-zone air conditioning, Cruise control, Bluetooth, USB, Comfort Go, DAB Radio, Drive Performance Control, iDrive Controller and a 6.5-inch colour screen complete the standard specification of all models within the range.
The new BMW 428i Convertible is characterised by the feisty power delivery, high maximum revs, impressive torque and the low weight of its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine. As much as 245hp is produced from 5,000–6,500rpm, and peak torque of 350Nm is available between 1,250-4,800rpm. This equates to a zero to 62mph dash in 6.4 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph, while the average fuel consumption stands at just 41.5mpg, and CO2 emissions are only 159g/km.
The range starts with the £36,675 420d SE Convertible, followed by $48,750 for the rear-drive, 428i Convertible, and $54,900 for the more powerful 435i model (*all prices exclude $925 for destination). It is set to be released in the first quarter of 2014, with most speculations centering on the month of March.
You could argue that the BMW 4 Series looks too similar to the 3 series, but there are elements to the new model that will no doubt really attract speedy drivers also with a soft spot for elegance. It’s not the complete sharp drive that its looks would suggest, which may leave some people disappointed, but they’ve always got the M4 to look forward to. It’s a lower, wider, longer car than the old 3 Series Convertible, with a visibly greater sporting intent.