Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bucket Seat: BMW 428i Convertible

In today's day in age, with the rising prices of goods and the exchange rate not doing us any favours, people would look at being more practical on their purchases. Whether it be clothing, food, or every day to day items, the same applies when buying a car, you'd want something thats for you but at the same time  have that option to accomodate others. The BMW 4 series is not that though, if I had to compare it to something, it would probably be skinny jeans. Its tight, its uncomfortable, you struggle to put it on and the pockets serve no purpose. This is why.

A few months ago I reviewed the BMW 428i Sports Coupe, for me I thought the car was brilliant at what it does and found the engine particular good. Last week BMW sent me another 428i but this time round it was its topless cousin. The 4 series convertible has a hard top fold up roof which leaves me and everyone else watching in awe as it does its transformers-esq performance by breaking the roof into 3 parts and fitting sung in the boot. I was always skeptical of soft top convertibles as I grew up, even though I knew they were waterproof, I never felt comfortable with them which is why I am quite happy BMW have opted to continue where they left off with the 3 series convertible and having the hard top roof on the 4. 

The car itself looks great, the striking red colour along with the Sports line package made it extremely eye catching. The lowered stance, flared wheel arches and 18" alloy wheels added to the sporty/ cruiser image to the car. Although the dimensions of this are virtually the same to the 4 series coupe, the car did feel a bit lower which made it ideal to cruise around with the roof down. I do prefer the M Sport package that BMW offer but the standard sports package has grown me, its subtle differences that have a big impact on the overall look of the car. 

The Roof
As spectacular as it is, this is the one item that makes and breaks the car. Due to the roof, the car has have some disadvantages to the design, for example the sleek sloping lines on the 4 series coupe cannot be replicated on this model due to the folding roof as it needs to be straight. The roof also puts on an additional 200kg's to the cars overall weight! That weight has taken strain on the engine, while the car is no slouch the weight is noticeable on top end. To open or close the roof, there is a switch, similar to that of an electronic window, which one has to either tilt up to close or down to open. It's rather annoying as you have to hold the switch in place till the sequence is complete. In saying that, the roof does open rather quickly and can be done at a slow speed so you don't have to come to a complete stop to do so.

Then there is the boot, well one can't really call it a boot so lets go with  "storage space". Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, there is adequate space for 2 small bags or groceries in the allowed storage space in the boot with the roof down. What I also quite liked is that you still have access to this space when the roof is down, the hydraulic system in the boot helps lift the folded roof high enough for you to gain access to your goods but if you looking at storing your golf clubs in there, you won't have much luck, rather throw them on the back seat. 

Like the 4 series coupe, the ride is smooth, even with the large rims and stiff suspension. I thought the car would be all over the place in the corners with the extra weight from the roof at the back but some how they got their 50/50 weight distribution right again with the car perfectly balanced when taking turns, even at high speed. With the roof open, the wind is non existent in the cabin and with the help of fans in the front seats, this eliminates sweaty neck from the heat of the sun. The model I had also came with heated seats which were well used seeing that the temperature plummeted to 4 degrees on the very first night I got it!

I could cut an paste the exact same thing I said about the 4 series coupe here as it is virtually the same thing. The cabin is pretty spacious for four grown adults and with the sports package, the red stitching and black on black detailing is simply exquisite. Though one thing that is better on the convertible compared to the coupe, is exiting with the roof down is a million times easier for the rear passengers. 

Like I said, the added weight does put pressure on the 2 litre 4 cylinder enginer but still pushes out the same 180kW and 350Nm of torque on take off. The car maintains the sportiness with high revs propelling the car to a limited top speed of 250Kph. To achieve that one needs to have a long flat surface, as said before the extra 200kg's does tend to make it difficult for the engine to achieve high speeds. 

The car came with many extra's as usual, the most useful one being heads up display. Despite making you feel like the car is a spaceship, the info displayed onto the windscreen helps you keep your eyes on the road and not glancing else where. The car also came with internet connectivity via your phone, so one could browse the internet on BMW's connected drive display screen via Bluetooth but only when the car is stationary. I'm a massive fan of the Adaptive LED headlight system with high beam assist and like any youngster, the Harmon Kardon loud speaker system came very handy when my favourite songs were played on the radio. It was disappoiting that although the car came with Bluetooth for handsfree and internet, audio streaming came as an additional extra item, many other manufacturers offer it as standard.

I started off by comparing this car to a pair of skinny jeans, yes while it might be all of the above if worn by the wrong person it could be devastating but there is no doubt skinny jeans on the right person looks damn good and thats exactly what this car is. It is skinny jeans worn by a Jennifer Lopez, tight, with curves on all the right places and so damn good to look at and even though she can't fit anything into her pockets, thats why she carries a handbaag. It may not be the most practical thing around but then again if we all were practical about things, life would be pretty mundane.Whilst it is really for two people, it has the option of seating four in comfort. This car offers the owner to break the mold and be different, it's also quite fun to drive with or without the roof!

  • 2 litre, 4 cylinder twinscroll turbo charged engine
  • 8 speed automatic, step-tronic gear box
  • 180kW
  • 245bhp 
  • 350Nm torque
  • Consumption: 10ltr/ 100km
  • Top Speed: 250kph
  • 0-100kph: 5.5 seconds 
  • Price: R691 100 (excluding extras)

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