The cloth has been pulled back on the new BMW 4 Series Convertible at the LA Motor Show. It goes on sale in the UK on 8 March and like the new 4 Series Coupe, the drop-top replaces the previous 3 Series-badged model.
The new car is larger than the outgoing Convertible, but retains a three-piece folding steel hardtop, which takes 20 seconds to whir electronically into the boot. The top can be dropped while the car is driving but only at speeds of up to 11mph.
Our head of motoring video, Mat Watson, took a closer look at the car at the Tokyo Motor Show, where the car was also on display.
Although similar in concept to the old car’s roof, the top is a completely new design, with improved sound proofing and better aerodynamic efficiency helping to cut wind noise by two decibels with the roof up.
Top down, BMW claims the optional redesigned air blocker is easier to use and more effective at reducing buffeting, while optional neck warmers for both front seats are available for the first time.
BMW has worked to improve boot space. All models come with a new loading assistance feature that can move the folded roof up or down in the boot space to allow you to make the most of the 220 litres available with the roof stowed. With the roof up, there’s a 370-litre boot – 20 litres more than its predecessor.
Three engines will be available at launch – two petrols and one diesel – borrowed from the 4 Series Coupe. The entry level model is the 420d powered by a 181bhp 2.0-litre diesel, while the petrols are the 428i with a 242bhp 2.0-litre, and a top-spec 435i which uses a 302bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six.
A six-speed manual will be standard, although most buyers are expected to opt for the eight-speed sports automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddles. The auto offers better claimed fuel efficiency than the six-speed manual, regardless of engine choice.
To ensure the 4 Series is sharp to drive, BMW claims the new model is 40 per cent stiffer yet 20kg lighter than before As with the Coupe, standard kit will be fairly generous, and includes xenon headlights (with full LED lights available as an option), heated electric front seats and front and rear parking sensors on all models.
All models also include BMW’s EfficientDynamics fuel saving features, including ECO PRO mode, low rolling resistance tyres and Air Curtains and Air Breathers to improve aerodynamic performance. Prices will start at £35,650 for the 420d SE - £4,075 more than the 4 Series Coupe.