BMW 4 Series Convertible Puts On Brave New Face for 2021

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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.

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.

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.

[Images: BMW]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 32 comments
  • Roberto Esponja Roberto Esponja on Oct 05, 2020

    1970 Catalina and Bonneville want their face back.

  • JRobUSC JRobUSC on Oct 05, 2020

    "a soft top certainly seems less premium." Really? Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston, Lambo, McLaren, etc. would disagree - there's nary a hardtop amongst them, and they're certainly not hurting for "premium".

  • Bob65688581 We bought zillions of German cars, despite knowing about WWII slave labor. Refusing to buy something for ideological reasons is foolish.Both the US and the EU have imposed tariffs, so the playing field is level. I'll buy the best price/quality, regardless of nationality.Another interesting question would be "Would you buy one of the many new European moderate-price EVs?" but of course they aren't sold here.Third interesting question: "Why won't Stellantis sell its best products in America?"
  • Freshblather No. Worried there will be malicious executable code built into the cars motherboard that could disable the Chinese cars in the event of hostilities between the west and China.
  • Bd2 Absolutely not - do not want to support a fascist, totalitarian regime.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.