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The new BMW 4 Series Convertible takes top-down motoring back to the future

A new approach to designing soft tops gives BMW’s newest convertible more boot space, improved handling and head-turning good looks. Brought to you by BMW.

The new BMW 4 Series Convertible takes top-down motoring back to the future

Anyone for top-down motoring? The new BMW 4 Series Convertible offers cutting-edge technology draped in a stunning new form. Photos: BMW

Think fabric roofs are a throwback to retro motoring? Think again. In the new BMW 4 Series Convertible, engineers switched from a folding metal roof in the previous 4 Series Convertible to a fabric top.

But while that may seem like a switch to a more traditional design, it is actually a technological leap forward.

“We decided to go back to the soft top because we now have the technology to combine the best of two worlds,” said Mr Thomas Roth, the project leader for the new 4 Series Convertible.

MAKING A SOFT ROOF RIGID

The cloth roof of the new BMW 4 Series Convertible offers significant weight savings over the outgoing model's metal roof and takes up less boot space when retracted.

The fabric roof on the new 4 Series Convertible features a series of interlocking pieces called bow panels, which help to form the roof structure. This gives the fabric roof a similar rigidity to a convertible hard top, while still remaining compact and light.

The roof is some 40 per cent lighter than the previous 4 Series Convertible’s metal version and takes up significantly less room when folded. It also offers 80 litres more boot space than in its predecessor. And yet, with the roof up, the new 4 Series Convertible is as quiet as the 4 Series Coupe at highway speeds.

There’s another benefit to the new roof. “The bow panel system underneath prevents the roof from sagging, or ending up with a tent-like, hanging effect, which the conventional convertible used to have,” said Mr Lim Seungmo from BMW Design. “The new 4 Series Convertible now has perfect tension with this fabric top.”

A fabric roof also means reduced weight on the highest part of the car, helping to deliver sharper handling.

STYLISH CONFIDENCE

The vertical double kidney grille is a signature design element of the new as the new BMW 4 Series Convertible and 4 Series Coupe, giving the cars a powerful, athletic road presence.

With the latest 4 Series Coupe as a starting point, the new 4 Series Convertible flaunts a sense of style and confidence.

It features the same vertical double kidney grille as the new 4 Series Coupe, a design element that makes a powerful impression. Together with its sporty stance and athletic proportions, the new grille ensures that every journey in the 4 Series Convertible culminates in you making a grand entrance.

But it’s not all just for show. With a low centre of gravity and a reinforced body structure, the new 4 Series Convertible has the agility that BMW drivers expect.

Matching that handling is power. The 184hp 420i Convertible M Sport offers the ability to go from 0-100kmh in 8.2 seconds, while the 258hp 430i Convertible M Sport Pro performs the same sprint in 6.2 seconds.

The 430i Convertible M Sport Pro takes its dynamics a step further with 19-inch BMW Individual wheels framing red M Sport brakes and Adaptive M Suspension for top performance on all road conditions.

In addition to acceleration and cornering prowess, stowing the new 4 Series Convertible's roof takes just 18 seconds with the touch of a button, which is something that can be done even if you’re on the move, at speeds of up to 50kmh.

A TECH-LADEN, TOP-DOWN APPROACH TO MOTORING

The enhanced digital cockpit features digital 12.3-inch and 10.25-inch displays that place key information at the driver's fingertips.

With great performance comes great responsibility, and the new 4 Series Convertible has new driver assistance systems that can turn every drive — whether leisurely or spirited — into a safer and more comfortable affair.

A variety of standard safety features are included. For instance, the car’s systems can automatically apply the brakes if sensors detect an impending collision and inform drivers of the current road speed limit. On-board systems can also help the car stay at the centre of a lane if they detect the driver drifting too close to the next lane.

Meanwhile, an enhanced digital cockpit places what would once have seemed like the stuff of science fiction, right at the driver’s fingertips. It offers a fully digital screen grouping comprising a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch control display, which means the driver has easy access to all relevant information in a stylish, futuristic package.

With such features in place, the driver is free to simply enjoy the 4 Series Convertible, either as a more conventional ride with the roof overhead, or as a classic open-top driving experience with the top lowered.

Above all, the striking looks of this new BMW mean it’s a car crafted for the extroverted, exuberant driver. When the 4 Series Convertible conceals its innovative new roof, it’s time for you to flaunt your style.

Find out more about BMW’s approach to top-down motoring.

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