Picture the setting, the sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky, the sea is a deep blue colour and there is a slight breeze in the air. Perfect weather to cruise around in a drop top, and that is practically what an average day on the coastal city of which I reside, that is Durban is like. As luck would have it though, the week I get to spend with a luxury convertible, will bring in a vicious cold front that will last for longer than nine days. Yup, there I was, the keys to the brand new BMW 420i Convertible in hand, staring at the dark clouds and pouring rain, cursing every curse word I have in my vocabulary and pretty sure I came up with some new ones as well. I know I could still drive around in the car with the roof up, but, urgh! Why would you when the roof could fold away into the boot, leaving you one on one with the elements?! Well not the rain and cold, those elements can stay out of the cars cabin, none the less, the clock was ticking and the car needed to be driven, although there was a brief moment of sunshine that the heavens afforded me, just enough to do a make-shift photo shoot for this blog post as soon after it was completed, the skies opened again.
As discussed in the post about the revised 4 Series Gran Coupe, this updated spec of the model doesn't see a lot of cosmetic changes, it's hardly visible to the naked eye and you really have to pull out a measuring tape to see the real difference. The car has a new chassis which has been redesigned to suit all models of the range. This makes a huge difference in the driving dynamics. Visually the biggest change is the head lamps both front and rear which see's the introduction to full LED technology and phases out the old xenon's. Apart from it looking great with the hexagonal shape, the lights with high beam assist really light up the road like nothing I've seen but more about that later. BMW have also added some new paints which are exclusive to the 4 Series, most popular being Snapper Rocks Blue, the other being Sunset Orange which I honestly prefer from the two, the car I had came in good ol white. The interior see's some minor upgrades as well with more options in trims and textures to make your car exclusive and unique.
The revised 4 Series comes with the revised engines that filter down from the 3 Series, but with the Convertible, BMW have dropped the diesel engines from that line as from customer preferences, it was the least engine sold...in fact there were hardly Convertible diesel engines sold. The 420i I had was pretty awesome, while many think it is under-powered, I can assure you it is not! Even with the added weight of the folding roof, the car's engine produces 135kW and 290Nm of torque, more than adequate to propel you on both straight stretches and winding corners, you do tend to feel the weight at the rear if you really giving it horns but with a car like this, I've come to realise it is a proper cruiser. So low speeds, top down, music on and you're in the element but as my introduction stated, most of my driving was done with the roof closed.
If you are like me, crazy about the latest technology than the 4 Series won't disappoint you. BMW have updated the info screen to the tile format found in the 5 and 7 series, with apps and widgets for easy information on the move. BMW Connected drive also is included, with access to a 24 operator to help you with your every need. The 4 Series also has the option to have your instrument panel fully digital, this is pretty neat as it the display changes on every driving mode you chose. With comfort giving the standard BMW display, Eco Pro, has a blue theme, and the Sports display is full red with large display, it really gives you the impression that you're in a game, but be-careful, you're not and speed limits apply! It is loads of fun, though. The list of optional extras for the BMW's are endless, and I am bleak this test car didn't come with most of them as certain publications in the country complained about the cost of the actual test car with all of the extras it came with, My opinion is, it's there so we can tell you, the buying public about them, oh well.
I'm usually not the biggest fan of convertibles, yes they look cool with the roof down but coming from a climate that's always humid and having sensitive skin, I try to avoid having to bake myself. However, in saying that this car has changed my mind about convertibles, firstly the car has air-conditioned seats, so air flows through the seat and has a vent on the headrest, so it can either cool you or keep you warm as I found out while driving around with the roof down in overcast and cold conditions with everyone thinking I'm gone mad, I was actually quite comfortable. Secondly, the 4 Series Convertible has a hard top roof, yes it does mean less boot space, but who cars! Solid roof and it actually opens and closes rather fast, as my video will show you. The fuel consumption ain't so bad if you have to take into account that this car is almost 300kg's heavier than the Coupe and Gran Coupe, there is really lots of room in the car, I had 4 adults in it! If you in the market for a drop top, this in the first one you need to take a look at. Pricing is a bit stiff but you definitely getting what you paid for,
2.0L Twin Power Turbo
8 Speed Automatic with paddles shift
230Kph (electronically limited)