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BMW 4-series convertible Test Drive Review

Date: 04 August 2014   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

BusinessCar reviews the BMW 4-series

BMW is hoping to cash-in on fleet's love for upper medium 3-series saloon and Touring models with the addition of a convertible version.

A drop-top 3-series is nothing new, but the naming strategy has changed: sportier coupes and convertibles are now known as 4-series cars to further differentiate them from the volume saloon and estate 3-series variants.

BMW has stuck with a metal folding hard top for the 4-series Convertible, eschewing traditional fabric lids that are still employed by chief rival Audi. The roof can be opened and closed in 20 seconds via a button on the centre console. It's easy enough to do, but there are plenty of convertibles with electric hoods that are quicker and can be operated at faster speeds.

The firm says this model is better insulated than the previous 3-series Convertible, and it is relatively refined for an open-top car. What BMW calls an Air Collar, which is similar to Mercedes' Airscarf system and blows warm air onto drivers' and passengers' necks, also makes its debut.

The boot is slightly bigger too, at 370 litres with the roof up (20 litres more than before) and 220 litres when it's down (10 litres more). There's also a feature that allows you to raise the folded roof a little way out of the boot to make access easier. Even so, the reality is that there's very little luggage space with the top down.

It's business as usual for every other aspect of the 3-series, though. The cabin offers the same combination of a sober design and excellent build quality, and the responsive steering and agile handling are there too, although they're blunted by the extra weight of the folding hard top, which makes its presence apparent on faster roads.

Outright value isn't the name of the game here, but even so, the 4-series looks expensive. Kit isn't sparse but the BMW's 76.5ppm puts it a fair bit higher than the 72.6ppm of Audi's A5 Cabriolet in 2.0 TDI 177 SE spec car.