BMW 4 Series convertible
Price £34,210 - £60,745
- Good range of engines
- Quiet interior
- Secure folding metal roof
- Could be more fun to drive
- Heavy roof harms performance
- Coupe has more rear headroom
At a glance
“The BMW 4 Series convertible is nearly as practical as the coupe on which it is based, yet provides the bonus of wind-in-the-hair thrills.”
The BMW 4 Series convertible is the latest model to get BMW's new-name treatment – which sees coupes and convertibles get even model numbers – and the car is a direct replacement for the BMW 3 Series convertible.
As with the old model, the BMW 4 Series convertible gets a convertible metal roof that means it has a quiet interior and added security over fabric-roofed rivals. Unfortunately, it makes the new BMW 4 Series quite heavy – so it is not quite as fun to drive as the BMW 4 Series coupe that it is based on. That said, when you fold back the roof, not much can compare for luxurious wind-in-the-hair thrills.
The BMW 4 Series convertible can be fitted with a 3.0-litre petrol engine (for impressive pace), a smaller petrol that is quick and economical, or a 2.0-litre diesel that is fast enough, but also more economical than either of the petrols.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The high-powered top-spec petrol model isn't very economical
The most economical BMW 4 Series convertible is the 2.0-litre diesel in the BMW 420d, which is capable of 55.4mpg and emissions that mean road tax will cost £125 annually.
The 2.0-litre BMW 428i petrol offers a halfway house between the diesel and the top-of-the-range 3.0-litre petrol. It can return 40mpg and emissions of £175, but is quite a lot faster than the diesel.
Fastest model of all, though, is the 3.0-litre BMW 435i petrol. However, while it may be very quick, you're unlikely to manage more than 30mpg, and high emissions mean road tax will cost £260 yearly.
Interior & comfort
Hard-top roof means a quiet interior along with plenty of creature comforts
Inside, the BMW 4 Series convertible shares much in common with the 4 Series Coupe that it is based on. So it gets a high-quality, logical-to-use and well-built dashboard and BMW's iDrive infotainment system, which is easy to use and very effective on the move. The driver's seat also has plenty of adjustment, which means it is easy to get comfortable.
The folding metal roof on all BMW 4 Series convertible models means that interior noise is kept to a minimum – and makes the car harder to break in to for thieves. The BMW 4 Series can also be specced with BMW's Air Collar, which directs hot air to the back of your neck, to counteract the cold draft caused by having the roof down.
Practicality & boot space
Convertible roof affects boot space and rear hedroom
The BMW 4 Series convertible is almost as practical as the BMW 4 Series coupe. There's plenty of space up front and legroom isn’t too bad in the rear, either. The front seats tip and slide forwards, so access to the back seats is pretty decent, too, although headroom is tight for anyone over six feet tall. That said, if you drive around with the roof folded headroom is unlimited!
The BMW 4 Series has a decent-sized 370-litre boot, which is 20 litres more than the old BMW 3 Series convertible. It's worth noting that this drops to 220 litres with the roof down, though.
Reliability & safety
Shares parts with the solid and reliable BMW 3 Series saloon
The BMW 3 Series – which shares parts with the 4 Series coupe and convertible – did extremely well in the top 100 rankings of our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey – coming 9th out of 150 cars, so we can expect the new model to be reliable and dependable.
The BMW 4 Series convertible is also likely to be extremely safe. Although the model has yet to be tested by Euro NCAP, the BMW 3 Series got a five-star rating for safety. The 4 Series also gets safety features including ABS, brake assist, stability control, and numerous airbags as standard, so we expect it to fare well in the unfortunate event of an accident.
Engines, drive & performance
Decent to drive, but the convertible isn't as fun as the coupe
The BMW 4 Series Convertible weighs quite a lot more than the BMW 4 Series coupe thanks to the car's complicated roof system. That has the effect of dampening the car's performance and handling, making it more of a comfy cruiser than a sports car when cornering – with more body lean and slower acceleration.
That said, even the diesel version's 2.0-litre engine produces 181bhp meaning acceleration is impressive enough – taking 8.2 seconds to get from 0-60mph. That may be nearly a second slower than the diesel coupe, but it never feels sluggish. The 428i is quite a lot quicker – getting from 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds.
The range-topping BMW 435i gets a 3.0-litre engine that produces 302bhp. It goes from 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds and gets a top speed of 155mph.
Price, value for money & options
Quite expensive, but the 4 Series gets plenty of equipment as standard
The BMW 4 Series convertible might be expensive to buy, but you get a long list of standard equipment – even on the cheapest SE cars.
All models come with parking sensors, heated seats (useful in the winter sunshine), cruise control, climate control and a big 6.5-inch colour display. The handy iDrive controller is easy to use, and governs all the car's functions from sat-nav and radio, to the Bluetooth phone connection and settings.
Mid-spec Sport models get bigger alloy wheels, a subtle body kit and sports seats, while top-of-the-range look even more aggressive with sharper lines in the body work and M badging around the car.
The BMW 4 Series is also available in classy Modern and Luxury specifications, which command a premium over the basic SE but cost roughly the same as the BMW 4 Series Sport models.
What the others say
"The new BMW 4 Series Convertible, like the Coupe, takes a tangible step forward in terms of refinement and comfort. It’s a classy car with more room inside than before, plus a bigger boot, as well as some clever new touches to set it apart from the 3 Series."
"Meet the BMW 4 Series Cabriolet, a drop-top version of the well-received 4 Series Coupe. It’s a replacement for the outgoing BMW 3 Series Convertible and it goes on sale from March 2014. Like the car it replaces, it features a folding metal roof which when raised makes the car appear like a fixed-head coupe. The three-piece roof takes 20 seconds to rise or lower and can be operated at speeds of up to 8mph."