For the most recent model year, BMW has eliminated several trims or converted them to packages. The Sport Line has been eliminated and many of its features integrated into the standard model.
The Luxury Line has also been eliminated. A new Luxury Package is a no-cost option that includes most of the features of the previous Luxury Line model.
The M Sport Line was also eliminated. The M Sport Package takes its place.
The 4's wide stance is accentuated up front by a muscular, creased hood, a flared lower fascia and BMW's new fused-grille/headlight design. The flanks feature sharply creased character lines and vent-like "Air Breather" aerodynamic aids that work with "Air Curtain" front intakes to cheat the wind, while a racy, elongated roofline combines with a lengthy hood to create classic proportions.
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.
Backing up the sporty appearance is a choice of two powerful yet efficient turbocharged and directed-injected motors. The 428i uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque - potent enough to propel the coupe from zero-to-60 mph in the mid-five-second range - while the 435i packs a 3.0-liter inline-six with 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. When properly equipped, BMW says the 435i can hit 60 mph in five seconds flat.
Both motors are available exclusively with an eight-speed automatic with optional paddle shifters; the coupe's six-speed manual is not available.
A 75-pound lower curb weight courtesy of wide-spread high- and ultra-high-strength steel translates to improved efficiency compared to the old 3-Series Convertible. Also aiding economy is an auto-start system, regenerative braking and an ECO PRO system that provides tips on reducing consumption.
Mileage is rated at 23/34 city/highway mpg for the 428i and 22/30 mpg for the 435i.
The 4-Series Convertible is fitted with a lowered, specially tuned version of the 3-Series sedan's suspension. A strut located between the front axle's subframe 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.
As with the 3-Series sedan, the 4-Series is offered in several "Design Lines," two of which feature a unique suspension setup to go along with their model-specific exterior and interior equipment. The Sport Line and M Sport Line trims utilize a taut M Sport suspension with a firmer spring/shock absorber arrangement, stiffer anti-roll bars, and tweaked bearings and bushings.
Alternately, the 4-Series can be fitted with an adaptive suspension that electronically adjusts the dampers to suit any road or driving style. It's available as part of the Dynamic Handling package, which also replaces the standard electric-assist steering setup with a Variable Sport system that changes its ratio depending on the amount of steering lock the driver inputs.
Inside, the 4-Series Convertible's dashboard is largely identical to that of the 3-Series sedan. 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.
The optional navigation system is available with Google point-of-interest search and real time traffic information, and it also features a touchpad mounted on the iDrive knob that lets users write out phone numbers, contact names and navigation destinations - and also zoom in or zoom out the map - with a finger.
Other extra-cost gadgetry includes active cruise control that uses radar and a camera to maintain a set distance from the car in front (even in stop-and-go traffic), a Surround View camera system that provides a birds-eye, 360-degree view of the environment around the car and a high-resolution Head-Up system that displays vehicle speed along with speed limit and navigation info on the lower windshield.
Despite its attractive styling, the 4-Series boasts a reasonably spacious back seat that can hold two adults for around-town journeys.
The 4-Series Convertible offers 13 cubic feet of trunk space with the top up and 7.8 cubic feet with the top down. 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.
As with BMW's sedans, a swipe of a foot under the bumper can open the trunk when the optional Comfort Access package is ordered.
Features and Options
The 4-Series offers robust standard equipment along with several packages which allow buyers to tailor their BMWs to their personal tastes.
All 4-Series models come standard with leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, a AM/FM/CD stereo with HD radio and a USB input, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, automatic climate control, a moonroof, cruise control, adaptive and auto-leveling xenon headlights, foglights, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen and 17-inch alloy wheels. Sport seats and a leather-wrapped, contrast-stitched wheel are also standard.
Ordering the Luxury Package adds chrome and matte black touches to the outside plus additional chrome and high gloss wood inside. Buyers can choose between Ash Grain anthracite wood trim or brushed aluminum trim. Buyers who opt for the Luxury Package can also delete the standard sport seats.
The M Sport package adds an aero-oriented exterior bodykit and unique M division-designed wheels, steering wheel and door sills. This can be combined with the Track Handling Package for more performance-oriented buyers.
The Track Handling Package is also now available for all convertible models, and includes many of the performance options of the prior M Sport Line vehicles, such as 18" V-spoke Orbit Grey wheels, M Sport Brakes, an adaptive M Suspension and variable sport steering.
Packages and Stand-Alone Options
Aside from the previously detailed Dynamic Handling Package, there are other six optional equipment packages.
The Technology package includes a navigation system with touchpad, a head-up display, BMW Online with Google POI search, BMW Apps, advanced real-time traffic info, a demo mode for the heads-up display and an instrument cluster with expanded content.
The Premium Package brings a "Comfort Access" proximity key with a power-operated trunk that can be opened by waving a foot under the rear bumper, power lumbar support for the front seats, satellite radio with a one-year subscription and leather upholstery.
The Cold Weather package adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a neck warmer and retractable headlight washers.
The Lighting Package nets automatic high beams and LED lights, while the Driver Assistance Package includes rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
Finally, the Driver Assistance Plus includes side and top view camera, speed limit info, a lane departure warning system, active blind spot detection and Active Driving Assistant (detailed below).
Stand-alone options include a 16-speaker Harmon Kardon surround sound system, active cruise control, M Sport Brakes, a navigation system, heated front seats, concierge services with personalized hotel and dining recommendations and a parking assistant that steers the car into a parking space while the driver controls the gas and brake pedals.
All 4-Series Convertibles come standard with dual front, front knee, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The Active Driving Assistant system, included in the Driver Assistance Plus package, uses a camera mounted in the rearview mirror to detect imminent collisions with pedestrians, vehicles or other obstacles and warn the driver. It can also automatically apply the brakes to prevent or mitigate the severity of a crash.
4-Series Convertible buyers should also look at the Audi A5 Cabriolet, the Lexus IS C and the Infiniti Q60 Convertible.