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BMW 430i Convertible review

The BMW 4 Series Convertible has been updated, and it remains the choice for those that like to cruise in style.

Neil Briscoe

Words: Neil Briscoe - @neilmbriscoe

Published on: April 26, 2017

Words: Neil Briscoe - @neilmbriscoe

Published on: April 26, 2017

Tech Specs

Model testedBMW 430i Convertible
Price€68,060 as tested; range starts at €50,890
Engineturbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmissioneight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body styletwo-door, four-seat convertible
CO2 emissions154g/km (Band C, €390 per annum)
Combined economy42.8mpg (6.6 litres/100km)
Top speed250km/h
0-100km/h6.4 seconds
Power252hp at 5,200pm
Torque350Nm at 1,450- to 4,800rpm
Boot space220- to 370 litres
Euro NCAP ratingnot tested

Like the rest of the BMW 4 Series line-up, the four-seat Convertible has been updated. The 430i's four-cylinder engine is excellent, but as ever the Convertible's extra weight blunts performance.

In the metal

BMW's 4 Series Convertible has been given the same exterior updates as the Coupe, so you get new bumpers front and rear and new lights that are now all LED units front and rear (yes, including the fog lights), as well as new alloy wheels and new paint options, including Snapper Rock Blue and Sunset Orange.

It's still a tidy looking car, but we reckon that (a) both the Audi A5 Cabriolet and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet are better looking and, (b) the compromises needed to get that folding hard top to fit are just too much for the styling. While the 4 Series Coupe looks rakish and low, the Convertible looks awkward and gawky, as if it's wearing a hat unsuited to its head.

Things are little better inside. The Convertible has been given the same interior updates as the Coupe, so there are nicer plastics, new trim choices, upgraded switches and buttons and the option of both the new digital instrument pack and the new tile-based iDrive interface, both of which are particularly attractive. The front seats are comfy and supportive, while the driving position is suitably low for a sporty car, but the back seats have lost the plot. Whereas the rear of the 4 Series Coupe is surprisingly roomy, in the Convertible, space is considerably more restricted, as the rear seats have to sit more upright to leave space for the roof to fold back.

There are more compromises in the boot, which gives 100 litres away to the Coupe when the roof is up, and which shrinks to a MINI-like 220 litres when it's down.

Driving it

As with the rest of the 4 Series range, our 430i test car benefited from revised (and stiffer) spring and damper rates, less body roll, reduced braking distances and more neutral behaviour on the limit of grip. The steering has also been tweaked, and doubly so for the Convertible to allow for its lower body rigidity.

The changes are largely successful, and if you never drove the Coupe model, you'd probably be pretty satisfied. Step from one to the other though and what you will really notice is the weight - at minimum, the Convertible is packing an extra 100kg compared to the Coupe, and that makes its presence felt both around corners and under braking. It's subtle, but once noticed, you'll never forget it.

The engine is impressive though. Updated from the old 428i model the 430i pulls 252hp from its two litres and four turbocharged cylinders and does so with remarkable civility. If the six-cylinder 440i is all about the noise, then the 430i is all about the quiet - it's very refined, until you accelerate hard and then BMW pumps artificial engine sounds into the cabin, which is actually quite effective and pleasing to the ear. The acceleration is decent, but you will again notice that weight if you pop out for a sharp overtaking manoeuvre - even with 350Nm of torque to get things started, the 430i Convertible runs out of puff a bit too soon. It is decently economical though. BMW quotes better than 44mpg even with the extra bulk, which is impressive.

What you get for your money

The 4 Series has had a mild equipment boost, and M Sport models get the new digital instruments and the new iDrive system as standard, while the new LED headlights are standard across the range.

Summary

That updated '30i' engine is a gem - smooth and powerful, and economical enough to make you consider leaving diesel behind. The BMW 4 Series Convertible's extra weight and reduced practicality makes it much less appealing to us, though.



Alternatives

Car Reviews | Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI quattro | CompleteCar.ie
Audi A5 Cabriolet vs. BMW 430i Convertible: chassis isn't as well balanced as the 430i's, but it's better looking and even more refined.

Car Reviews | Mercedes-Benz C 250 d Cabriolet | CompleteCar.ie
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet vs. BMW 430i Convertible: gorgeous, good to drive and just about practical enough.

Car Reviews | Porsche 718 Boxster | CompleteCar.ie
Porsche 718 Boxster vs. BMW 430i Convertible: has only two seats, but is light, lithe, brilliant to drive and has a remarkable new engine.

Tech Specs

Model testedBMW 430i Convertible
Price€68,060 as tested; range starts at €50,890
Engineturbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmissioneight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body styletwo-door, four-seat convertible
CO2 emissions154g/km (Band C, €390 per annum)
Combined economy42.8mpg (6.6 litres/100km)
Top speed250km/h
0-100km/h6.4 seconds
Power252hp at 5,200pm
Torque350Nm at 1,450- to 4,800rpm
Boot space220- to 370 litres
Euro NCAP ratingnot tested