The allure of an attractive convertible cruising the strip during Vegas nights under Vegas lights is awe inspiring. The transient city has a way of leaving memorable impressions on the minds of its guests no matter if they are in town for a convention or simply tourists enjoying the limelight. Factor in a weekend drive with the all-new BMW 4 Series Convertible — 435i Convertible, 428i Convertible and 420d Convertible specifically — and you’re left with a positive result. With the addition of the “4” roster, BMW is able to expand the product line and increase brand awareness while improving on the design, innovation and dynamics of this affable aspirant.
Representing 20% of worldwide sales for BMW, the United States is not only an important region for the German automaker, but it is a country where convertibles thrive. From California year-round to Maryland in the spring, summer and fall seasons, a drop-top brings joy to the drive experience while allowing your thoughts to literally fly with the passing wind. Sometimes road rage is simply due to claustrophobia in a vehicle that offers no true amenities and proper ergonomics. Well, that won’t happen with an Ultimate Driving Machine! More importantly, this mid-size luxury 4 Series plays dual roles as it’s both a coupe and convertible due to a 3-piece retractable metal roof which sets and resets in a little over 20 seconds. And the top can be dropped while the vehicle is mobile up to 11 mph. Noise insulation assures that the interior cabin is quiet like a true coupe when the top is up. So now it can be driven in the winter as well, if you dwell in a cold weather state! Especially since BMW is offering the vehicle with xDrive all-wheel drive beginning March, 2014. Essentially, there are no excuses not to utilize your 4 Series Convertible every day of the year.
With 500,000 3 Series sold worldwide in 2013, 25% hailing from the U.S., the addition of the 4 Series is expected to further increase business and must not be taken lightly, as BMW enthusiasts are precise and vocal with their needs and expectations. To that point, BMW set parameters for the 3 Series Convertible replacement with elegance and performance in mind. The new 4 Series Convertible is now longer, wider, shorter in height and 44 pounds lighter than its predecessor. Yes, it’s a beautiful vehicle with the dynamism and performance engineering one expects from a BMW such as 50/50 weight distribution. This was most evident when we drove outside of Las Vegas to the Valley of Fire where the one-lane road was as snaky as the limbless reptiles occupying the land. Hard lefts and hard rights with a bit of acceleration and impeccable braking typically are expected from a definitive sports car. Yes, the 4 Series delivers on all fronts.
Increasing the aesthetic outlook and configurability of your 4 Series, BMW designed the 2-door with four unique trim levels inclusive of the M Sport package (my personal preference for any BMW) the Sport Line, Modern Line and Luxury Line. Each enhances the allure of the interior and exterior with special customized materials to heighten the sophistication and profile of the Bimmer. The staple BMW kidney grilles, corona ring LED daytime running lamps and progressive chin spoiler with air intakes dominate the front fascia while the rear is a bit bland, but is inimitably influenced by the vehicle’s red lighting package. When the top is down and red leather is chosen, the 4 Series shines at its best. This is the view I enjoyed the most. When the top is up I do believe the silhouette is a bit too bubble-shaped.
Of course we all know “one size fits all” does not apply to the automotive industry, especially when considering power and performance. Some drivers are looking for acceleration and others are focused on fuel economy. Therefore a $55,825 435i Convertible will be equipped with an inline 6-cylinder, the $49,675 428i Convertible with a 4-cylinder engine and the 420d Convertible with a 4-cylinder diesel engine (range from 184 horsepower to 306 horsepower). All of which are honed with BMW’s latest generation TwinPower Turbo technology. Either a 6-speed manual, 8-speed automatic or 8-speed Sports automatic transmission with Auto Start/Stop is paired with your engine of choice. I’m not a fan of Auto Start/Stop features, but it can be deactivated anytime by pressing the button under the ignition starter. Clean diesel is the wave of the future in the U.S. Not very popular in comparison to the rest of the world due to negative memories of loud and dirty diesels of the 80s and 90s, today’s variants move you further on less fuel, kinetically are about 25% more powerful than gasoline engines and are honored by very reliable and durable powertrains. Diesel 18-wheelers (tractors) are known to endure a lifespan of 1 million plus miles.
Inside the 4 Series is roomy, premium and technologically configured like most Bimmers. The improved iDrive 4.2 remains with an interactive Control Display and the multifaceted BMW Apps and ConnectedDrive. Here you can pair your smartphone so the vehicle can run Facebook and Twitter, show your calendar, or play Pandora playlists. It also has Google search that sends query results directly to the BMW navigation and puts you on course. What’s also satisfying is a full-color Head-Up Display that reveals pertinent vehicle statuses so your eyes and attentiveness can remain focused on the task at hand: driving! Additionally the new iDrive control comes with a touchpad so contact info can be written out similar to Audi’s MMI controller functions.
The new 4 Series is brilliant and everything one would expect from a BMW from ergonomics to sportiness. Did I fail to mention the trunk’s increased luggage space and the wind deflector to allow for comfortable long distance touring? It’s witty, safe, comfortable and attractive. Well done, BMW.