The 2013 Los Angeles auto show is the perfect place to debut the 2014 BMW 4 Series convertible, as this new droptop is sure to be a hit in car-crazy and image-conscious Southern California. If you’re still confused about BMW’s new, slightly revised naming scheme, then it will help you to know that, starting in the 2014 model year, the convertible and coupe versions of the 3 Series sedan will carry the 4 Series moniker. The 2014 4 Series coupe is already on sale, and this convertible is set to join it in early 2014. BMW says the 4 Series range is supposed to represent “3+1,” meaning that the coupe and convertible should offer something extra compared to the more mainstream 3 Series sedan.
The new convertible offers a sharper look than the outgoing 3 Series convertible. It has a wider, lower body and a more striking front end that tapers to distinctive character lines along the sides. Overall, the 4 Series’ lines transition well to the convertible body style, and thanks to the three-piece retractable hardtop, the 2014 BMW 4 Series convertible looks good with the roof up as well. It’ll fit right in on Rodeo Drive.
Despite the name change and new look, the 4 Series convertible does not diverge much from the formula of the 3 Series convertible. The powertrains carry over mostly unchanged, and it shares a platform with the current 3 Series sedan, although, like the 4 Series coupe, it has a widened track.
The 2014 BMW 4 Series convertible’s powertrain lineup is nearly identical to that of the 4 Series coupe’s, with 428i and 435i models powered by the same four- and six-cylinder engines. The 428i’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque, and the 435i’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 makes an even 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. Whereas BMW offers its xDrive all-wheel-drive system on 428i and 435i coupes, the company will offer xDrive only on the 428i convertible. Interestingly, there will be no manual transmission for the 4 Series convertible; an eight-speed automatic is standard on all droptops.
BMW says torsional rigidity is improved over the 3 Series convertible thanks to the use of ultra-high-strength steel, and it also claims that the 4 Series convertible is about 44 pounds lighter than its predecessor. We don’t have an official curb weight yet, but we expect the 4 Series convertible to be about 400 pounds heavier than the 4 Series coupe. This shouldn’t affect performance too much: BMW estimates a 0-to-60-mph time of 6.2 seconds for the 428i convertible and 5.5 seconds for the 435i convertible, compared with estimates of 5.7 and 5.0 seconds for the 428i and 435i coupe, respectively.
The retractable hard top folds in 20 seconds at speeds up to 11 mph. A well in the trunk area holds the folded top, so cargo space shrinks from 13.0 cubic feet with the top up to 7.8 cubic feet when the top is lowered. To help make the most of this space when the top is down, there is a hydraulic system that raises the folded hardtop for a wider cargo opening when items are being loaded. In addition, the rear seats fold down to make space for longer items. Other convertible-exclusive features include neck warmers with three temperature settings and a standard stowable wind blocker that can be placed over the rear seats.
The 2014 BMW 4 Series convertible will offer many of the same safety, convenience, and entertainment technologies as the 4 Series coupe, including available navigation, smartphone integration, and selectable drive designated Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Eco Pro. Numerous active safety systems such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, and blind spot detection are available as well. The newest version of BMW’s iDrive system controls the infotainment system.
Like the 4 Series coupe, the 2014 BMW 4 Series convertible will be offered in three lines in addition to the standard 428i and 435i models. These include the Luxury Line, which adds chrome trim inside and out, wood trim for the interior, stitched leather seats, and special 18-inch wheels. The Sport Line outfits the exterior with glossy black trim pieces, a sport suspension, twin-spoke 18-inch wheels, and black and red accents inside. The M Sport adds a body kit, available Estoril blue metallic paint, M-design 18-inch wheels, and an M Sport suspension and brake package. The Luxury, Sport, and M Sport lines add $1700, $2100, and $3500 to the price of the coupe, respectively. We expect similar pricing for the convertible.
When the 2014 BMW 4-Series convertible arrives in the United States in early 2014, it will carry a significant price premium over the 4 Series coupe. The starting price of $49,675 for the 428i is $8250 higher than the base price of the 428i coupe. The 435i convertible starts at $55,825, and if its 300 hp isn’t enough, we expect a BMW M4 convertible to arrive later in 2014. For now, though, more official information on the 2014 BMW 4 Series convertible will be available when the car makes its official debut in Los Angeles next month.