BMW’s 4 Series Convertible is one of the few convertibles still available that provides the security of a metal-folding roof rather than a fabric top. The metal panel origami means that boot space is at a slight premium, but there’s nothing quite like this car in its segment.
This car’s origins lie with the ‘E90’-series BMW 3 Series Convertible launched by the Munich maker back in 2007. Back then, it was common for a mid-sized open-topped executive convertible of this kind to have a metal folding roof rather than a fabric one, so the Bavarian brand duly developed such a drop-top hood for its convertible customers. The same kind of hood was carried forward when this 4 Series Convertible model was introduced in 2013.
Inside, this design uses BMW’s older cabin architecture, but it still feels of high quality, with a large central 8.8-inch iDrive infotainment screen. It features as standard the BMW Navigation and BMW Professional Navigation set-ups.
This isn’t really a proper four-seater cabrio, but there’s space for a couple of adults in the rear. As for boot space, there’s 370-litres of capacity when the roof’s up – or 220-litres when it’s folded.
If the sun comes out or the heavens open, it’s nice that you don’t now have to stop at the side of the road to either open or close the roof. You do have to slow to a speed of below 8mph for the 20 seconds the three metal panels take to assume their necessary positions. When the top is up, the refinement you get is indistinguishable from that you’d expect to find in the 4 Series Coupe model, thanks to a number of design improvements made to this Convertible version. These include a sound-absorbing headliner that reduces wind noise by up to 2dB.
Vanarama customers get a choice of two core 4 Series Convertible trim levels – ‘Sport’ and ‘M Sport’. As for engines, all of them are mated to auto transmission and most wedded to rear wheel drive.
There’s a choice of three diesel units, starting with the 190hp powerplant found in the 420d. Above that come the six cylinder diesel models, the 258bhp 430d and the 313hp 435d xDrive range-topper, the only variant in the range offered with xDrive 4WD.
If you’re considering petrol power, things kick off with the base four cylinder 184bhp 2.0-litre unit found in the 420i. The same powerplant is available in an uprated 252hp state of tune with a '430i' badge where it offers 252bhp. Beyond that, there’s a six cylinder petrol model, the 326hp '440i' variant.
This car’s two closest competitors are probably the Audi A5 and the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet options, but you could also consider cars like the Ford Mustang Convertible. The BMW 4 Series is, however, the only car in this competitive field with a metal folding top.
Like many of its drivers will be, BMW is quietly satisfied with this 4 Series Convertible. While you sense that the Munich engineers might have preferred a soft-top configuration, they’ve certainly made this metal folding top arrangement work very effectively and if you can live with a smaller boot, the metal hard-top roof layout offers upsides in security and refinement, without too much impact on efficiency.