Oh Britain. Only in a country full of crap roads and rubbish weather would its citizens consistently plump for a) sportier suspension setups and b) convertibles. Welcome, then, to a car made very much for British tastes. The new BMW 4 Series Convertible.
As standard, it’ll come in M Sport specification over here, with the optional M Sport ‘Pro Edition’ as the next rung up. And the 4 Series Convertible features a new flagship – at least before the M4 Convertible arrives – in the shape of the M440i xDrive.
We must talk about the M440i xDrive, because it’s got 374hp and drives all four wheels through an eight-speed gearbox. As the (current) fastest 4 Cabrio, it’ll go from 0-100km/h in 4.9secs and max out at a limited 250km/h. BMW says the M440i is able to deliver performance “that would be respectable on a racetrack”, featuring such hits as an M Sport diff, 19s, adaptive suspension and even red M brakes.
Other engines are available, if hotfooting around a racetrack in a convertible isn’t really your bag. There’s a 420i, a 430i, a 420d, a 430d, and a twin-turbo M440d (delivering a whopping 700Nm of torque and 0-100km/h in just 5.1secs).
What else, what else… It’s a little longer and wider than the previous 4 Series Convertible, and gets a fabric roof 40 per cent lighter than its metal predecessor (phew), able to open or close in 18 seconds right up to 50km/h. Up front sit a pair of vertical grilles sized… perfectly rationally and reasonably, along with large air intakes and full LED frickin’ laser lights.
The side profile looks clean, sweeping back to the rear where a pair of “slim”, darkened lights extend into the flanks in an ‘L’ shape. Speaking of shape, BMW says it has fitted additional bracing to help keep the body rigid, along with an aluminium shear panel under the front end, and side skirts with “high torsional rigidity”.
Inside it’s as per the 3 sedan, there are many options with which to empty your pockets, a host of driver assists, and lots of connectivity.
“Sharper than its predecessor and echoing the bold style of the BMW 4 Series Coupe, the new 4 Series Convertible blends sporting driving pleasure and open-air thrills to continue the 35-year legacy in this model class that began with the first BMW 3 Series Convertible,” says, um, BMW.
STORY Vijay Pattni