2014 New BMW 435i Convertible Up-close by Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
MUNICH, Germany; Metal folding roof or soft top? We do not have to
guess about the choice for the 4 Series Convertible, as it was presented
with a foldable hard top at the LA Auto Show in November. But internally,
there must have been some discussion, as the 1- and 6 Series have a soft
top, while the design of the steel top of 4 Convertible comes close to that
of the 4 Series Coupe.
However, given the fact that its predecessor, the 3 Series Cabrio,
also uses metal, it is no surprise that the ‘4’ has gotten it
as well. By the way, with the new nomenclature in the BMW line up - odd
numbers for the sedans/estates and even numbers for the coupes and
convertibles - the 2013 3 Series Convertible is the last topless model with
a ‘3’ in its name badge.
It speaks for itself that the sleek design of the 4 Series Coupe is
carried over in the Convertible. With the roof closed, the model also has a
better stance than the previous Convertible, but misses the elegance of the
coupe. With the roof stowed away behind the rear seats in the upper part of
the trunk it looks classy, something you cannot say of most models in its
The metal roof is of a complete new construction that folds faster
and has better insulation then in the Dreier. It closes or opens in 20
seconds, which is possible while driving at up to 11 mph. The folding
mechanism is less complicated and, according to BMW, lighter and cheaper.
It folds nicely in the upper part of the trunk, of which the space
has improved a bit with 0.35 cubic feet. With the top up there is 13 cu-ft
of space, 0.7 cu-ft more. Important is also that you now can electrically
lift the folded roof to get access to the space underneath and store
bag(s). That is, after you have lifted the rather heavy rear deck and
pushed the divider backwards.
When there are no passengers on the rear seats, you can use the wind
deflector, which when not in use disappears nicely behind the foldable rear
seatbacks. It is very effective in cutting turbulence in the cockpit and I
could have a normal conversation with my colleague/co-driver.
In case the temperatures are not really comfortable, the seat
heating and Air Collars, the neck warmers under the headrests of the front
seats, will extend the open air driving time.
The only flaw in my opinion is the height of the backrests of the
front seats. They are o.k. for me, but too low for any driver and passenger
taller than, say, 6 feet.
Dr. Dies, BMW’s board member for development said that the 4
Convertible is an all-round car for everyday use, “year round’.
But we can imagine that when you are about to make a long trip and have
more luggage than a couple of bags, you will take your 3 Series Sports
Wagon or 5 Series Sedan.
Anyway, when the sun shines, like during our first test drive from
Las Vegas to the Vallye of Fire State Park, some 60 miles from the city,
the 4 Convertible is an excellent companion. We cruise on the I-15 motorway
and take the 75 to the gorgeous park.
The latter is not a very good road, with lots of longer and short
bumps, but it is a good test bed for our convertible, that does not give
in. Not in any respect. The suspension evens out the bumps, we do not feel
any rattles, do not feel any torsion. That is really good for a topless
car. But a lot of work has been done on the subject of torsion stiffness,
resulting in a 20 percent improvement over the outgoing 3 Convertible.
The chassis set up offers excellent en well refined ride comfort,
but does not feel as agile as of the Coupe. This makes sense, since you do
not buy a convertible to be pushing it each and every day.
We were really looking forward to drive the 4 Convertible on the
winding roads through the park, but a German colleague ruined
everybody’s test drive by getting 2 warnings and a speed ticket from
the Ranger, who was so angry that he withdrew all permits to drive in the
park that afternoon.
However, performance wise, the 435i is no softy. Its 3.0-liter
six-cylinder engine with 306 hp and 295 foot-pound of torque is good for
an acceleration time from zero to 62 mph of 5.5 seconds.
The 4 Series
Convertible models get standard the 8-speed Sport automatic tranmsmission.
XDrive all-wheel drive will be available on the 428i Convertible.
From the market introduction, BMW will offer two other engines: the
245 hp strong 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the 428i and, in certain markets, the
184 hp2.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel in the 420 d.
The 428i and 435i Convertibles will arrive in US showrooms in March just in time for topless driving.
Technical details BMW 4 Series Convertible
|Engine|| 6-cylinders, turbocharged|
|Capacity|| 2,979 cc|
|Power|| 306 hp @ 5,800-6,000|
|Torque|| 206 lb-ft @ 1,200-5,000 rpm|
|Transmission|| 8-speed automatic|
|L/w/h|| 182.6/71.9/54.5 inches|
|Wheelbase|| 110.6 inches|
|Curb weight|| 4,095 lbs|
|Tires fr/rr|| 225/45 R18|
|Acceleration 0-60 mph|| 5.4 sec |
|Top speed|| 155 mph|
|Fuel cons. city/highw/comb.(est.) n/a (Eu cycle: ||
10.8/5.6/7.5 l/100 km mpg |
|CO2-emission|| 176 g/km |
|Price: 435i Convertible|| from $ 55,925 (428i from $