Report: Next BMW 4 Series Convertible Ditches Retractable Hardtop

Traditional softtop will save weight and increase cargo room.

In order to save weight, the next version of the BMW 4 Series convertible will use a softtop instead of a retractable hardtop, according to German magazine Bimmertoday. This likely means that retractable hardtops will be gone from the BMW lineup within the next few years, as the next BMW Z4 sports car is rumored to ditch its folding metal roof as well.

We previously reported on this switch when AUTOMOBILE European bureau chief Georg Kacher spoke about the next-generation BMW 3 Series, expected to debut in 2018. Earlier this year, Kacher said that the next 4 Series coupe and convertible models would follow the sedan by two years, and that the convertible "will trade a retractable hardtop for a classic softtop."

This switch will help the droptop 4 Series save weight and increase cargo space. The current BMW 4 Series convertible (pictured) uses a three-piece metal folding roof design, but compared with the coupe, a standard 428i convertible weighs an extra 500 lb, and provides around 8 cu ft less cargo space when the hardtop is folded into the trunk. Using a softtop would help both of these problems, as it takes up much less space when folded and saves weight thanks to the much simpler folding mechanicsm needed for a cloth convertible top.

Look for more news to come on the next-generation BMW 4 Series, which will reportedly ride on a new rear-drive platform called CLAR and use various new turbocharged four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines.

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