BMW 4 Series Convertible Puts On Brave New Face for 2021

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BMW has applied its new corporate grille to the 4-Series and nixed the retractable hardtop from the convertible in exchange for a ragtop that helps the model dump unnecessary weight. While the softer sunshine rig sounds relatively impressive, this will likely be a lateral move for most fans. The brand’s elongated Hitler mustache grille hasn’t gone over with everybody and a soft top certainly seems less premium. But BMW thinks it can win customers over on practicality and substance.

For starters, the new system offers a smidgen more headroom (just 0.2 inches) and has improved thermal insulation and sound dampening to keep it on par with the outgoing hardtop. It also takes up less space when stowed and only takes 18 seconds to do so at speeds at or below 31 mph.

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Weight was the biggest factor for Bavarian brand, however. BMW said the canvas top is roughly 40 percent lighter than its predecessor. Considering there are almost 500 pounds of difference between convertible and standard 4-Series coupes, that’s nothing to sneeze at. But is it aesthetically pleasing?

Eh, kind of.

While your author grew up in and around convertibles, he has never truly understood their appeal when there are sunroofs and motorcycles to be had. However, a contrasting rag top has always seemed more classic and earnest than paint-matching hardtops. It also seems to accommodate the monstrous new grille better than some of the brand’s other models have. Either that or the damn thing is simply becoming more palatable over time  which is not a scenario I am not prepared to entertain just yet.

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You’ll have to make up your own mind if you’re mulling a convertible or simply select the standard 4-Series, which likewise has the new grille and the same engine options offering improved output from the 2020 model year. The base turbocharged 2.0-liter four now makes 255 horsepower and 294 lb-ft of torque (up from 248/258) and the 3.0-liter turbo inline-six boasts a maximum output of 382 hp and 369 lb-ft (up from 320/330) with help from its 48-volt mild hybrid system.

Including the obligatory $995 destination fee, BMW has decided to ask $54,095 for the new 430i Convertible, $56,095 for the 430i xDrive Convertible, $64,995 for the M440i Convertible and $66,995 for the M440i xDrive Convertible. Sadly, that does not make it more affordable than the previous model year  despite the automaker going with lighter (and presumably more cost-effective) materials.

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