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2014 BMW 4 Series Convertible: LA Auto Show

What Is It?

The 2014 BMW 4 Series convertible is the latest 2-door, drop-top version of BMW’s 3 Series sedan. But what’s with the new number in its name? As with the 4 Series coupe, which is already at dealerships, the new retractable-hardtop convertible adds one to emphasize its separation from the regular 3 Series.

For context, think about what Audi does with the A4 sedan and A5 coupe/convertible. The A5 is fundamentally a 2-door A4, but that unique higher-numbered badge helps it stand out. We’re not saying BMW copied Audi or anything, but … well, they kind of did. And given how well Audi’s doing these days, that’s not a bad idea at all.

The 4 Series convertible holds few surprises if you’re familiar with the 3 Series portfolio, but there’s still ample appeal here for al fresco fans. The entry-level 428i will employ BMW’s turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, rated at 240 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration to 60 miles per hour is estimated in the mid-6-second range. Stepping up to the 435i nets the battle-tested N55 turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6, which checks in at an even 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. You’ll hit 60 mph a second earlier with the bigger motor.

Purists will be pleased to learn that a 6-speed manual is available on both models, though most will be equipped with the 8-speed automatic, of course. Also, the 428i will be offered with all-wheel drive, making it an unusual all-season solution among convertibles.

Slightly larger in most dimensions than the outgoing 3 Series convertible, the new 4 Series drop-top sports a more prominent crease that runs down its side panels. In general, though, the styling isn’t much different this time around, with the biggest visible change being the adoption of the new front end from the 3 Series. BMW says the 4 Series convertible rides lower than its predecessor for superior handling, a claim we look forward to testing when we get our hands on a press car.

Inside, as expected, the dashboard is also lifted from the 3 Series, but the 4 Series convertible offers neck-warming vents for the first time in the model’s history. Additionally, BMW claims a 2-decibel reduction in wind noise with the top up, thanks to a new sound-absorbing headliner. That top continues to be a 3-piece design that takes about 20 seconds to do its thing.

How Much?

The 428i will start at $49,675, with the 435i checking in at $55,825.

When Can You Get It?

Early 2014

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

If you want a luxury convertible with a back seat, the 2014 BMW 4 Series convertible is one of the few options that hits all the right notes without completely shattering the bank. It’s not a revolutionary redesign, to be sure, but its predecessor was already an excellent car, and there are meaningful improvements here to sweeten the deal.

Other Cars to Consider

Audi A5/S5 Cabriolet — The 4 Series’ most direct competitor similarly offers all-wheel drive and a pair of turbocharged engines. The S5 is roughly equivalent to the 435i.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet — Technically half a class up or so from the 4 Series, the E-Class is a more sedate take on top-down motoring.

Infiniti Q60 convertible — It may just be a rebadged G37 convertible, but with 325 hp under the hood and sleek styling to boot, the Q60 has a lot to offer.

Used BMW 6 Series — Its brand-new pricing starts in the stratosphere, but depreciation is your friend: The 6 Series can be had for a song, relatively speaking, on the pre-owned market.

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