2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible Brings Back the Soft Top
Thirty-five years after the introduction of the first BMW 3 Series Convertible was unveiled, BMW brought back the soft top for the 3er’s modern-day successor, the 4 Series Convertible.
The last generation 4 Series convertible was only available as a folding hardtop, which was fine enough, but also pretty heavy and bulky up top, eating into cargo space and messing with the handling.
According to BMW, the new soft top is approximately 40 percent lighter than the last-gen’s hardtop, adds 0.2 inches of additional head room and adds 1.2 cubic feet of extra cargo area for a total of 9 cubic feet of stuff space. There’s even a safety mechanism that prevents it from being lowered with a full trunk, and a pass-through in the rear seat to haul longer items if need be.
There are two colors available for the top: a standard black and an optional Moonlight black that has a subtle shimmer to it.
The soft top material pulls taut when it’s closed to reduce wind noise and improve the car’s aerodynamics. It features a honeycomb-design construction, multiple layers of insulation and a glass rear window. It has three bow panels that fold into an accordion-style Z congifuration when open and tucks under a hard cover.
The soft top can be opened and closed at up to 31 mph, and takes just 18 seconds to do either. You can also open the top using the optional Comfort Access system through the remote key.
When the top is down, there’s a standard wind deflector with two mesh elements that reduces wind noise and turbulence. It comes with its own fitted bag in the trunk or it can fit behind the rear backrest.
Aerodynamics were important here, with a coefficient of drag that improved by 0.02 due to its new soft top, an underbody that’s nearly sealed and other aerodynamic aids like air flap control and air curtains. This is despite the fact that the car itself is bigger: 5.2 inches longer (or 5.3 inches for the M440i Convertible), 1 inch wider, 0.1 inch higher, and with a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase.
Yes, it, uh, has that grille. You know the one. BMW says it provides “adequate airflow to meet engine cooling requirements.” I mean, it’s the size of Connecticut, so it better.
Yet somehow it looks more like a BMW than its hardtop counterpart. The standard 4 Series hardtop looks like a Generic Sporty Coupe design, and the minor bend in the C-pillar couldn’t save it from looking more like an Altima coupe from certain angles. Sawing the roof off seems to have solved that. (Do the kidneys next, please?)
The M Sport Package for the 4 Series Convertible adds a restyled front bumper with larger air intake openings, a different rear bumper with shadowline inlays, plus high-gloss black finishes for the front air intake trim, side window moldings, lower exterior mirror housings and rear diffuser panel. The Shadowline Package adds high-gloss black finish to the exhaust tip trim and kidney grille, plus a black finish on the mirror caps.
The M440i Convertibles get a Cerium Grey finish on the front intake trim, rear trapezoidal exhaust tip trim, kidney grille and exterior mirror caps. So, you can have the grille in multiple ways, so long as you have…the grille. (At least it’s a lot more subtle than the M4’s.)
Inside, BMW’s tradition of driver-focused interiors continues, with the main dashboard controls angled slightly towards the driver. BMW’s power Sport seats and leather Sport wheel are standard. The M440i convertible and those with the M Sport package get the M Sport steering wheel, M logos on the door sills and extra soft knee padding on the center console.
The base 430i Convertible starts at $53,100, with an all-wheel-drive 430i xDrive Convertible ($55,100), M440i Convertible ($64,000) and all-wheel-drive M440i xDrive Convertible ($66,000) all as drop-top options.
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