Convertibles are almost never the purist’s choice. They’re heavier, less rigid, and less dynamic than their coupe counterparts. However, they are often the better looking two-door option. Sadly, this isn’t exactly the case for the 2021 BMW 4 Series. We’re sorry BMW, but the 4’s big grille also doesn’t work on the convertible.
Luckily, there are some notable changes over this car’s predecessor that might make it more appealing—provided you can get past its mug. For 2021, the 4 Series ’vert drops the heavy, power-folding hardtop of its forebear for a cloth unit. The new cloth drop-top is 40 percent lighter than the folding roof from the previous car. By switching to a soft top, BMW managed to rid the 4 Series convertible’s roof of any seams or kinks. The roof looks flat and perfectly taut when closed.
2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible: Safety First
The new convertible is bigger in every dimension than the car it replaces. It sits on a 1.5-inch longer wheelbase and is four percent stiffer than the old car. Credit side skirts with more torsional rigidity, a more rigid floor plate, and a reinforced transmission tunnel at the rear of the car. The hood, front fenders, and doors are now aluminum and cut 44 pounds of fat from the car.
Another consideration when buying a convertible is safety. To remedy the ill effects of losing its roof, the 2021 4 Series convertible is equipped with a rollover protection system. Rollover bars hidden behind the rear-seat head restraints are deployed via a small pyrotechnic (read: explosive) charge the instant the car’s safety systems detect the car might roll.
The car also gains high-strength steel members in its doors to strengthen the passenger compartment in the event of a side collision. As for less physical crash protection, the new drop-top comes with a whole suite of active safety features. Forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high-beam headlights are just some of the standard safety tech BMW bakes in.
2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible: Top Down, Horses Up
Two powertrain options are available at launch. The 430i and 430i xDrive (BMW speak for all-wheel-drive) are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The big-daddy M440i and M440i xDrive get a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six with 382 hp and 364 lb-ft of torque. Like its coupe sibling, the I-6 in the convertibles include a 48-volt “mild hybrid” system.
BMW notes it adjusted the car’s suspension to better deal with impacts in the road, which should help mitigate some of the inevitable chassis flex that comes with chopping the roof off a car. A stiffer M Sport suspension is an option on 430i models and standard on the M440i.
2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible: Premium Pricing
Inside, the convertible is very much the same as its closed-roof counterpart. That means an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes standard, as does a 5.1-inch display between gauges. A 10.3-inch central touchscreen and a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster are optionally available. Additionally, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both come standard, but extras such as a Harman Kardon sound system, a head-up display, and seat-mounted neck warmers are all optional extras.
Pricing for the base 430i starts at $54,095, with all-wheel-drive adding $2,000 to the bottom line. The M440i starts at $64,995. Like its four-cylinder sibling, all-wheel drive is a $2,000 extra. Look for rear-drive 4 Series convertibles to arrive in March of 2021, with all-wheel-drive models hitting dealership lots just in time for summer.
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