2018 BMW 4 Series Convertible
The BMW 4 Series Convertible is a topless, high-style alternative to the 3 Series sedan. Also offered as a coupe, it is quieter, cushier and more tech-focused than its predecessor but it continues to serve up an engaging driving experience to go along with its distinctive look.
In years past, the 3 Series' coupe companion was known for conservative, understated styling, but the 4 Series breaks with tradition by wearing highly evocative sheet metal.
Its wide stance is accentuated up front by a muscular hood, a flared lower fascia, and BMW's fused grille/headlight design. In other words: it looks a lot like a 3 Series. The flanks feature sharply creased character lines and vent-like Air Breathers that reduce turbulence in the front wheels.
The 4 is fitted with a three-piece retractable hard top that electronically opens or closes in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 11 mph. The hard top provides a quieter ride and better all-weather insulation than a conventional fabric top while giving the convertible a coupe-like silhouette when closed.
The 4 Series is fitted with a lowered, specially tuned version of the 3 Series sedan's suspension. A strut located between the front axle's sub-frame unit and the body stiffens the front end for more precise steering and better body control, while the rear five-link suspension is also optimized for spirited driving. Note the electronically-assisted steering is less communicative than the hydraulic setup of the 4's predecessor.
Inside, the 4 Series' dashboard is largely identical to that of the 3 Series. That means there's simple, straightforward instrumentation, driver-focused controls, and premium materials.
Mounted front and center is a 6.5-inch infotainment screen that displays sound system, climate control and (when equipped) navigation system info. It's controlled by BMW's much-improved iDrive interface, although redundant buttons and voice commands give users alternate means of accessing the electronics. Navigation and Apple CarPlay compatibility are both offered at an extra cost.
Despite its attractive styling, the 4 Series boasts a reasonably spacious backseat that can hold two adults for around-town journeys. The rear backrest folds down in 40:20:40 segments for added utility, and when the center section is folded, it acts as a ski or snowboard slot.
The 4 Series line-up includes two models named 430i and 440i, respectively.
The 430i's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 248 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 1,450 to 4,800 rpm. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in six seconds flat in its fastest configuration.
The 440i benefits from a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six that delivers 320 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 330 pound-feet of torque between 1,380 and 5,000 rpm. Its zero-to-60-mph time checks in at 5.1 seconds.
The 4 Series Convertible is automatic-only. Rear-wheel drive comes standard regardless of how many cylinders are under the hood, and BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system is offered at an extra cost.
The 430i returns up to 24 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg in a combined cycle. Opt for the 440i and you'll see those figures drop to 21, 29, and 24, respectively.
Features and Options
The 430i comes standard with a multi-function steering wheel, SensaTec upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped by run-flat tires, a universal garage door opener, auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic LED headlights, LED fog lights, automatic climate control, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The 440i adds, in addition to the bigger engine, a Nappa leather-upholstered steering wheel, keyless entry, and a surround-sound system.
The list of extra-cost options includes metallic paint, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, 19-inch alloys, an adaptive M suspension, a heated steering wheel, a digital instrument cluster, wireless charging, a head-up display, and adaptive cruise control. There are also numerous option packages that make the 4 sportier, more luxurious, or both.
All 4 Series models come standard with dual front, front knee, and front side in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire pressure monitoring system.
4 Series buyers can also look at the topless variants of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Audi A5.