What's the used BMW 4 Series sports like?
Yes, it's been around for some time, but if you want a suave four-seat convertible from one of Germany's sportiest brands this could be just the used car for you.
The BMW 4 Series Convertible was the predictable 2013 follow-up to the coupé version of the same name. Both were launched to replace the 3 Series Coupé and Convertible, the idea behind the name change being to make BMW’s ever-expanding line-up less confusing for customers to understand.
BMW also took the opportunity to give the 4 Series a sleeker look, and this is especially the case in the convertible, with its folding metal hard-top. That roof looks suitably theatrical as it opens and closes, as well as providing more security than the soft-tops of BMW’s rivals, the Audi A5 Cabriolet and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet.
The drawbacks of such a roof are that it weighs a lot more than its canvas equivalent, takes up more space in the boot and can’t be opened or closed on the move above 8mph. So if any of those is a deal-breaker, a used 4 Series is probably not for you.
The heavy roof also takes the edge off the excellent handling you get with a 4 Series Coupé, with the convertible noticeably less agile when it comes to changing direction. It’s still a cut above rivals, however, and remains the keen driver’s choice as far as cars of this type are concerned.
The extra weight also means the engines receive a harder time, so if your idea of a BMW convertible means having something powerful it’s worth opting for one of the six-cylinder units such as the 435i or 430d if budget allows, rather than the four-cylinder 420i, 428i, 420d or 425d. You can also have a high-performance M4 version, with 444bhp. We’d also recommend going for the smooth-shifting automatic gearbox rather than the six-speed manual, which can be notchy to use.
On the road, BMW’s six-cylinder petrol engines have a reputation for being smooth-running and, sure enough, life is suitably hushed once you’ve got the 430i and 440i up to speed, even when the roof is down. The 420d is quite noisy, especially when revved hard, although this is rarely necessary because it pulls strongly from low revs. And since you're unlikely to be bothered by any of the engines when the roof is up, we'd be tempted to go for the 420d for its lower running costs.
Wind noise is kept to a minimum, and while there's some buffeting with the roof down, it's only in the back that it makes life uncomfortable. Road noise is more of an issue.
The 4 Series Convertible’s steering is accurate, but the car’s weight means it’s not entirely happy with sudden, rapid changes of direction. It is comfortable, though; even in stiffer M Sport trim, the suspension does a decent job of dealing with road imperfections.
Ride comfort is pretty good and front-seat occupants are well protected from the wind, even at motorway speeds. There is, however, rather a lot of road noise whether the roof is up or down and anybody who sits in the small rear seats will be both cramped and battered by the wind. Worse still, if you want to use the wind deflector, it means giving up the rear seats altogether due to the way it clips into place. It makes the C-Class Cabriolet look thoroughly practical by comparison.
A facelift in 2016 resulted in the 435i being replaced by the 440i, as well as improved equipment including LED headlights and revised suspension settings on all models. At the same time, a TFT digital dial display was made available as an option.
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