New BMW 4 Series Convertible vs Audi A5 Cabriolet: interiors

Audi and BMW are old hands at making classy four-seat convertibles that are refined enough to use all year round. Let’s see if BMW’s latest 4 Series drop-top can upstage its toughest rival...

New BMW 4 Series Convertible interior

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Climb behind the wheel of the BMW 4 Series Convertible with the roof up and you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in BMW’s 3 Series saloon, because the driving position and dashboard are almost identical. Still, that’s not such a bad thing.

For starters, you sit lower than you do in the Audi A5 Cabriolet, resulting in a sportier feel, and this is only enhanced by the fact that the 4 Series’ seats hold you more securely in place through corners.

Audi A5 Cabriolet interior

Besides, it’s not as if you get a bespoke interior with the A5, either; here, pretty much everything is lifted from Audi’s A4 saloon.

Both of these drop-tops offer a wide range of driver’s seat and steering wheel adjustment, so getting comfortable is easy. But only the A5 comes with adjustable lumbar support to help you stay that way on long trips; BMW charges £195 to add this.

The A5 also provides superior visibility, both at junctions (where its door mirrors are less intrusive) and when you try to see what’s behind you (because its rear head restraints can be lowered out of the way, instead of being fixed like those in the 4 Series).

BMW 4 Series Convertible 2022 electric seat adjustment

That said, neither car gives you a great view of what’s behind when you’ve got the roof up, so you’ll be grateful that both come with parking sensors (front and rear) and a rear-view camera.

The A5 and 4 Series are closely matched when you consider interior quality, too, with both feeling expensive and built to last. However, if you’re picky (and we’re paid to be), the 4 Series’ gear selector and climate controls don’t feel as substantial as the A5’s.

Infotainment systems

BMW 4 Series

New BMW 4 Series Convertible infotainment

Like the A5, the 4 Series comes with a responsive touchscreen, albeit one that’s slightly bigger than its rival’s (10.3in versus 10.1in). But what really sets it apart is that you can also operate its features by twisting and pressing a dial between the front seats. This is far less distracting when you’re driving, and once again you get smartphone mirroring and sat-nav. Audiophiles should consider upgrading from the standard stereo to the £820 Harman Kardon system.

Audi A5 

Audi A5 Cabriolet infotainment

The pre-facelift A5 had a more user-friendly infotainment system than the latest model, because it featured physical controls. However, as touchscreens go, this is one of the better ones, offering sharp graphics and haptic feedback. It reacts promptly to inputs, too, while the list of features includes built-in sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring. The stereo fitted to Vorsprung-spec A5s is a 3D Bang & Olufsen system with plenty of power.

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