Review: BMW 4 Series Convertible (2014)
Stylish looks and very desirable. 435i is an amazing engine with thunderous performance. Superb handling. Rides better than coupe.
Roof only works up to 8mph.
BMW 4 Series Convertible (2014): At A Glance
- New prices start from £39,220, brokers can source from £24,868
- Contract hire deals from £267.67 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 30–42
- On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure
Style, quality and desirability. If that's what you're looking for in a convertible then there's plenty of choice from the premium manufacturers. So what makes the BMW 4 Series stand out?
Well unlike alternatives from Audi and Mercedes-Benz, the 4 Series stands out by virtue of its metal folding roof. It means the BMW is more secure when parked and quieter on the move. It may add some weight, but the benefits more than make up for it.
Being a BMW it handles immensely well with great agility, helped by the rear-wheel drive set-up. There are also xDrive four-wheel drive models, but only on top versions. What is impressive is the ride quality. It's actually better than the 4 Series Coupe, making the convertible very comfortable, even if you go for an M Sport model.
If you want affordable running costs then the 420d is the one to go for. It has decent performance but will prove usefully economical with around 46mpg in real world driving. Yet the best engine is the 435d. True, it's not cheap with a list price of more than £50k, but it's effortless fast and sounds good too, with huge reserves of torque.
And if you're not covering big miles there's the 420i. It may the entry-level engine in the range but it's still enjoyable to drive and smooth too. The six-cylinder 440i is the top of the range petrol, akthough despite the badge, it's actually a 3.0-litre engine, albeit with power boosted to more than 320PS.
The 4 Series Convertible is more expensive than the 3 Series it replaced but then it does come with more standard equipment. This includes plenty of kit such as round parking sensors, heated and electric front seats, xenon headlights, DAB radio and Dakota leather upholstery.
With its sleek design and metal folding roof, the 4 Series Convertible remains incredibly desirable - even several years since its launch. It also comes with some of BMW's best engines and handles superbly well, as you'd expect of a BMW. It even rides well. Add in lots of standard kit and it's easy to see why we rate it so highly. The competition may be very good but we find it hard to look past the 4 Series if you want a quality convertible.
What does a BMW 4 Series Convertible (2014) cost?
Buy a used BMW 4-Series from £18,999
BMW 4 Series Convertible (2014): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 220–370 litres
The metal folding roof of the BMW may add weight compared to a fabric hood, but it does mean a more secure car and less noise when the roof is up. In fact, the 4 Series Convertible feels just like the coupe with the roof up, giving you the best of both worlds.
Dropping the electric roof takes about 20 seconds although it does only work at speeds up to 8mph. That's not really much of a problem, but it does mean that if you're in traffic and want to put the roof down (or up) you'll have to be at a crawl.
One handy feature is the clever vents built into the seats that blow warm air onto your neck. It means you can have the roof down on a cold(ish) day and still stay warm. If you really want to.
The interior has the usual BMW quality feel and upmarket ambience, with a solid action to all the switches and controls. It's a feeling few cars can match, although it does of course come at a price - the 4 Series is a desirable car with a price tag to match.
You sit low slung and there's lots of adjustment in both the seat and steering wheel, so even taller driver's will find it comfortable. It still has a proper handbrake - which seems old fashioned for BMW now and does take up space - but we know lots of drivers still prefer them to an electric parking brake.
Rear space is as limited as you'd expect but can at least get a forward facing child seat in there thanks to the Isofix points, although getting your little one in and out isn't exactly easy.
The folding hard roof does mean limited boot space but with 370 litres, it's bigger than the old 3 Series Convertible, and with the roof up, the boot is surprisingly useable. When the roof is down, there's a clever system which moves the folded roof to make it easier to access to boot.
While the 4 Series is expensive it does come well equipped with all models getting all round parking sensors, heated and electric front seats, xenon headlights, DAB radio and Dakota leather upholstery.
Child seats that fit a BMW 4 Series Convertible (2014)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the BMW 4 Series Convertible (2014) like to drive?
The 4 Series Convertible is everything you'd expect from a sporting BMW. Even the smaller engines in the range provide good performance and it's a very enjoyable car to drive.
The handling is beautifully weighted and there's minimal body roll, giving you lots of confidence through corners, whether at low or high speed. The standard rear-wheel drive set-up gives you lots of grip and the ESP is always there should the back end get out of shape.
BMW has now introduced xDrive four-wheel drive which gives you better traction and the difference is very noticeable in the wet or if you're driving with a bit more gusto and accelerating out of slow corners.
While it's a convertible, the fact the 4 Series Convertible has a folding hard roof means there's zero flex in the body. It feels as rigid as the coupe on the move, even over really poor roads. Yet the ride is impressively forgiving - smoother than the coupe model in fact - even if you go for an M Sport model.
Drop the roof down and it still feels very taut, plus thanks to the aerodynamic shape, there's very little wind buffeting on the move. You can easily hold a conversation with the person next to you, even at 60mph.
Since it was launched in 2014, BMW has expanded the engine range of the 4 Series Convertible. It offers everything from economy in the 420d to big six-cylinder petrols in the 440i. There is of course the high performance M4 which we cover in its own review.
The 420d is our choice for an affordable to run convertible. While the four-cylinder diesel doesn't sound particularly nice when you have the roof down, it is reasonably quiet on the move. But it's the blend of decent performance, helped by 400Nm of torque (up from 380Nm from July 2015) and good fuel economy - Real MPG users are seeing more than 46mpg for the 420d Automatic.
Our favourite model however is the 435d. It is considerably more expensive than the 420d - another £10k on the list price in fact - but the six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesel is sublime in the 4 Series Convertible. It sounds good, pulls effortlessly and offers seriously quick performance with a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds.
It also comes with xDrive four-wheel drive which isn't available on the 420d Convertible (but strangely is on the 420d Coupe and Gran Coupe models). It's something BMW didn't previously offer but it makes a considerable difference to the amount of traction, particularly in the wet. And that's handy given that the 435d has a hefty 630Nm of torque.
If you don't do enough miles to justify a diesel, then BMW has some good petrol models. The 420i is the entry-level version and the cheapest in the range - although it's still more than £37k new. It's a smooth and enjoyable engine to drive, albeit it does sometimes need to be worked hard to get meaningful performance.
Despite the badge, the 428i uses the same engine, but with power increased from 184PS to 245PS. This was later replaced by a the 430i model - essentially the same but with power now up to 252PS.
The 435i was originally the big six-cylinder diesel but this was upgraded and rebadged 440i. It has plenty of power with 326PS and makes a great noise but it's not as quick as the 435d and is thirsty too with a real world economy of around 30mpg.
|420d||53–59 mpg||8.1–8.3 s||133–137 g/km|
|420d Automatic||50–64 mpg||8.0–8.4 s||124–149 g/km|
|420i||42–46 mpg||8.2–9.1 s||153–159 g/km|
|420i Automatic||39–49 mpg||8.3–9.8 s||144–169 g/km|
|425d||46–54 mpg||7.3–7.5 s||138–160 g/km|
|425d Automatic||44–57 mpg||7.1–7.6 s||132–168 g/km|
|425i||38 mpg||7.6 s||176 g/km|
|425i Automatic||36 mpg||8.1 s||185 g/km|
|428i||40–42 mpg||6.4 s||159 g/km|
|428i Automatic||42–43 mpg||6.4 s||154 g/km|
|430d||46 mpg||6.4 s||162 g/km|
|430d Automatic||44–51 mpg||5.9–6.5 s||139–170 g/km|
|430i||36–40 mpg||6.4–6.5 s||162–182 g/km|
|430i Automatic||34–45 mpg||6.3–6.7 s||146–190 g/km|
|435d Automatic||48 mpg||5.2 s||151 g/km|
|435d xDrive Automatic||44–50 mpg||5.2 s||151–155 g/km|
|435i||32–35 mpg||5.6–5.8 s||190–205 g/km|
|435i Automatic||32–38 mpg||5.5–5.7 s||176–205 g/km|
|440i Automatic||36–39 mpg||5.4 s||167 g/km|
Real MPG average for a BMW 4 Series Convertible (2014)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the BMW 4 Series Convertible (2014)?
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