Become A Convert
If you’ve never driven a convertible, you need to check out the BMW 4 Series, a sleek open-top four-seater that has power and pace, writes Paul Agnew. Photography: Roger Moore
First impressions do count. Whether you’re choosing a house, a hotel, a pet or a partner – but especially when you’re choosing a car!
From the moment you make eye contact you know whether this is the one for you. Hard to explain, it’s just a gut feeling.
A feeling you certainly get when being first introduced to the BMW 4 Series Convertible – a sporty car of genuine elegance with instant, stop-you-in-your tracks appeal.
Down the decades, convertibles have always had something of an edge over the rest on appearance, but this latest BMW variant is the new benchmark.
And, difficult as it might be to believe, the handling and functionality are every bit as good as the look.
Pure, dynamic, driving pleasure combined with the allure of exclusive open-air motoring, make this open-top, four-seater (not many of those around) a highly-compelling proposition in a competitive marketplace.
First up, the overall handling is nothing short of magnificent. This is a car of power and pace, but one that holds the road superbly and takes the corners like a dream. Not at any point does it threaten to race out of your control.
With a low centre of gravity and perfectly balanced 50:50 weight distribution and optimised aerodynamics, the BMW 4 Series Convertible offers sharp response across all petrol and diesel options with all models complying with the Euro 6d emissions standard.
The flagship M440i xDrive comes with 374hp and 500Nm of torque and powers from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds. Supporting the twin power turbo six-cylinder petrol engine is a 48V mild hybrid battery, which helps with stop/start functionality, boosts acceleration and also delivers favourably in terms of fuel consumption.
Impressive stuff, but you can expect excellence and performance whatever your fancy or budget, like eight-speed Steptronic transmission for starters.
Inside there is an ambience of quality and flair with driver-centric cockpit design, electrically adjustable sports seats in the front with automatically extending and retracting belt feeders, Vernasca leather trim and seat heating, plus leather sports steering wheel. The two rear seats are individually styled and there are harmoniously designed surfaces on the instrument panel, door panel trim and rear passenger compartment.
The BMW 4 Series Convertible perfectly suits both everyday journeys and longer distance trips. Storage options are surprisingly good and the top-class equipment make open-top driving an even more pleasurable experience.
Optional wind deflectors can be stored behind the rear backrest and optional neck warmers are integrated into the front head restraints. Three-zone automatic climate control is standard and also available are ambient lighting features with welcome light carpet, Harman Kardon surround sound system and an auxiliary heating system controlled via smartphone or the BMW display key.
There is front collision warning with brake intervention, lane departure warning including lane return with steering assistance and speed limit info system. Optional driving assistant professional adds a number of features including steering and lane control assistant with the new active navigation and emergency lane assistant functions. There is also innovative 3D visualisation of the surrounding area in the digital instrument cluster.
Park distance control with sensors at the front and rear come as standard while an optional parking assistant also includes reversing assistant. The latest generation of BMW head-up display and BMW drive recorder are also available.
The glorious BMW Operating System 7 provides the platform for individually configurable, personalised content in the control display (measuring up to 10.25 inches) and the optional 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster. There is intuitive, multimodal operation using the control display touchscreen, iDrive controller, steering wheel buttons or voice control and BMW intelligent personal assistant with new graphics in the control display.
A cloud-based navigation system (BMW Maps) provides fast, precise calculation of routes and arrival times, real-time traffic data updated at frequent intervals and a facility for entering any word when searching for destination.
Featuring Smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and now also Android Auto, wireless connection via wi-fi, all information is shown in the control display, the instrument cluster and head-up display.
In short, it wants for nothing. One leading motor critic, noted more for fault-finding than plaudits, termed it ‘highly-recommended’. High praise indeed.
The BMW 4 Series Convertible is a motor for anyone who loves carefree driving, coupled with a touch of panache and excitement.
If you’ve never tried a ‘drop top’ then check it out. You might well become a ‘convert’!
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