4 out of 5 4.0
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Sophisticated convertible for those who want to make a splash

BMW 4-Series Convertible (21 on) - rated 4 out of 5
Enlarge 15 photos

At a glance

New price £45,800 - £102,600
Lease from new From £656 p/m View lease deals
Used price £33,450 - £82,610
Fuel Economy 27.7 - 57.6 mpg
Road tax cost £490
Insurance group 33 - 46 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Classy interior
  • Supreme ride
  • Responsive steering

CONS

  • Controversial styling
  • Disappointing 2.0-litre petrol engine
  • Expensive options

Written by Murray Scullion on

Is the BMW 4 Series convertible any good?

Good news. The topless 4 Series, much like the regular coupe, is up to scratch. It's solid and premium-feeling inside and big enough for four adults, assuming the journey's not terribly long. A sharp steer too with a few quality engines and one that's a bit rubbish.

Its styling, especially that large front grille, is controversial. If it isn't your kinda thing, contemporaries include roofless versions of the Audi A5, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Lexus RC.

What's it like inside?

The look of an interior takes on a new meaning in a convertible, as you'll be showing it off to every person and their dog once the roof is down. And this one doesn't disappoint.

It's nearly identical to the 3 and 4 Series, save for buttons to raise and lower the fabric roof and the air scarf that pumps heated air onto your neck. There are light and dark colour options and lots of buttons. This is good for ergonomics.

There's a 12.3-inch screen, digital instruments, and BMW's latest iDrive touchscreen system. Unlike a lot of modern infotainment systems, it has an old-school rotary controller. It's slick and easy to use and very rarely caught out. Much easier to operate on the move when compared with a regular touchscreen, too.

Layout is spot on. The seating position is low and feels sporty, but the view out isn't impaired. The parking camera pings into position on the screen at the right moments, and the voice control is pretty convincing too.

The driver and front passenger will have little to complain about in terms of space. Rear passengers embarking on a long journey will begin to feel claustrophobic with the roof up, but it's more than fine for short journeys.

There's a 300-litre boot with the rear seats up, but that expands to 385 litres when the rear seats fold over. They don't completely collapse flat. Usefully, there's a ski hatch too. This allows long items, like skis, to be threaded between the rear passenger seats.

What's it like to drive?

This largely depends on which model you choose. All 4 Series convertibles have sharp steering with natural feedback through the slightly-too-thick steering wheel. In general the 4 Series Convertible is a really easy car to drive quickly, and it's fun too.

Adaptive suspension comes with the Pro Edition and M440i as standard, but can be specified on the base model too. We'd recommend doing so as it allows you to soften or stiffen the suspension. In Comfort mode it really wafts along nicely and doesn't feel at all brittle, a common complaint found in heavy convertibles.

The base model 420i doesn't feel all that special. It's fine for pootling around town, but it feels like it doesn't have enough power to haul its considerable weight (1765kg) around. The 0-62mph sprint is dealt with in a satisfactory time of 8.2 seconds but it sounds coarse the further up the rev band you go.

Taking a step up to the 430i alleviates these problems by offering a lot more power, making the car feel less strained.

The 420d suits the car's needs. Power comes from as low as 2,500rpm, which makes it more relaxing to drive than the 420i. The 430d is even punchier.

The M440i uses a six-cylinder engine rather than a four-cylinder one. This broadly means it's smoother and more powerful. If you want to extract the maximum fun out of a 4 Series convertible, this is the engine to choose.

It sounds good (especially with the roof down), is plenty fast enough, quiet at a cruise and surprisingly efficient, too. It has four-wheel drive, but there's enough power and rear bias to have some fun without it biting back.

What models and trims are available?

Petrols and diesels are on offer. 420i, 430i, and M440i are petrols. 420d and 430d are diesels.

  • 420i: 184hp/300Nm, 131-140g/km, 46.3-49.6mpg
  • 430i: 245hp/350Nm, 138-147g/km, 44.1-47.1mpg
  • M440i: 374hp/500Nm, 159-169g/km, 38.2-40.9mpg
  • 420d: 190hp/400Nm, 111-119g/km, 62.8-67.3mpg
  • 430d: 286hp/650Nm, 141g/km, 52.3mpg

The 4 Series convertible is only available in high-end trims. M Sport is the starting level. It comes with 18-inch alloys, heated leather seats, cruise control, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

Upgrading to M Sport Pro edition bags you 19-inch wheels, adaptive suspension, and more paint options. Either of these grades can be specced with the 420i, 430i, 420d, or 430d engines.

The M440i is the range-topper. This is an M Sport Pro with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine.

Click to find out whether we think the BMW 4 Series convertible is worth going for...

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