2020 BMW 4 Series Convertible
2020 BMW 4 Series Convertible Review
- Strong performance regardless of four- or six-cylinder power
- Ride quality is quiet and comfortable
- Biased toward comfort but still excels at high speed on flowing roads
- Less cargo capacity than top rivals
- Rivals offer more innovative in-car tech
- Some interior trim pieces feel a bit cheap for the price
- Minor tweaks to feature availability
- Part of the first 4 Series generation introduced for 2014
Top-down motoring is a unique thrill, maybe the closest you can get to the uninhibited freedom of a motorcycle or at least a Jeep stripped of its doors. And with the 2020 BMW 4 Series Convertible, many of the usual convertible quirks — awkward fabric tops, loud and rushing wind noise, and poor visibility — are absent. Instead, the 4 Series with its retractable hardtop makes for a civilized, if pricey, entry into open-air luxury comfort. Think of it as a 3 Series sedan with two fewer doors and a more expansive sunroof.
BMW redesigned its 3 Series convertible and coupe models several years ago and rechristened both as the 4 Series to distinguish them from the sedan. (It then introduced the Gran Coupe sedan to distinguish the sedan from itself.) This BMW isn't a sports car, but the 4 Series can still release adrenaline when needed. For maximum fun, you'll need to upgrade to the twin-turbo inline-six engine in the 440i (or go all-in on the high-performance M4 convertible, reviewed separately). The convertible is heavier than its two-door coupe counterpart, and the base four-cylinder engine is only just enough to move the car with any authority.
For 2020, the 4 Series convertible, like the coupe, gets minor cosmetic updates and some new driver aids as standard equipment. These minor details don't give the 4 Series any particular edge over its Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class rivals. All are ideal for when the sun's out and the air's fresh.
The 4 Series convertible is heavier than its coupe counterpart, and the extra weight results in predictable negative effects on handling and acceleration. But the top is a model of good design — it's quiet, tight, well-finished and easy to see out of, even when up. But don't confuse sunny motoring with sporty motoring; this drop-top isn't especially powerful or athletic.
How does the 4 Series drive?
Removing the roof has increased the 4 Series' heft and blunted its nimbleness, but not as much as you'd think. We tested the 430i. Power is merely adequate at 248 hp, and getting from 0 to 60 mph takes 6.9 seconds. This drop-top won't be your first choice for a twisty road, but it doesn't wilt at the challenge either, thanks to quick steering and stable handling. As a cruiser, it excels. The brakes are also strong and consistent.
The 4 Series prioritizes comfort and composure over speed and pace, so only its lack of outright acceleration and agility can be noted as deficits. Otherwise, the breadth of the 430i's performance makes it a competent and engaging driving partner.
How comfortable is the 4 Series?
The 4 Series provides a comfortable, well-damped ride that strikes an optimal balance between comfort and control. The sport seats aren't that sporty, but the 430i is nice to drive or ride in for hours at a time. It handles its increased heft and lack of a roof well.
Although the engine note isn't very exciting, it's pleasantly audible thanks to low levels of wind noise. The most prominent noise comes from the road and the run-flat tires, but overall this is very civilized and well-isolated for a drop-top. The 4 Series' effective climate system lets you ride top-down, even in cold weather.
How’s the interior?
BMW set up the 4 Series with driving comfort in mind. We like the wide range of seating adjustments and thoughtful ergonomics. The iDrive media controller, for example, helps declutter the interior of needless buttons. It rivals the coupe in visibility and ease of entry rival that of the coupe (and it's even better for rear passengers when the top is down). Its driving position is also spot-on. And while there's enough space for front-seat occupants, backseat legroom is at a premium.
The top is outstanding in nearly every regard: The articulating hard roof is tight, quiet and well-executed. It folds down in 22 seconds, and the windblocker panel stashes cleverly behind the rear seatback. This BMW is a convertible that requires little compromise.
How’s the tech?
Navigation is a standard feature, and additional options such as adaptive LED headlights and blind-spot monitoring are available with the Executive and Convenience packages. Several stand-alone features are also available, including an Apple CarPlay subscription. Android users are still out of luck.
How’s the storage?
The folding roof has to go somewhere when stowed, and cargo space suffers as a result. The partitioned trunk leaves a fair volume for items, but the available room is quite tapered. Flip up the partition for more space, but then you can't put the top down. None of this is surprising for a convertible, but it still limits the car's top-down potential during weekend getaways and road trips.
Likewise, you'll find room for only the essentials in the cabin. Two cupholders, as well as a small rubber-lined tray for a phone or two, sit in front of the shift lever. Car seat anchors for child seats are easy to see and access. But placing a car seat back there, especially with the top up, requires a lot of bending on your part and moving up the front seats.
How economical is the 4 Series?
The 4 Series has the ability to be frugal if driven with some restraint. Over our 115-mile evaluation loop, we saw 28 mpg from our test 430i model, which compares well to the EPA's estimate of 27 mpg in combined city/highway driving.
Is the 4 Series a good value?
The 4 Series was designed to go head to head with its German rivals. And it does just that, at least where the wallet is concerned. Adding a lot of options can bring up the price to an uncomfortable level, but you can see where some of the money goes. Interior fit and finish is excellent, with the exception of hard plastic where knees rest against the center console. And there's high-quality leather on the seats and steering wheel. Warranty coverage is on par with rivals.
It's tempting to think of a convertible BMW as sporty. But the 430i's engine is a little overtaxed by the car's weight. If you have sporting intentions, choose the more powerful 440i. Or just think of the 4 Series less as a sporty car and more as a competent and comfortable entry-level luxury convertible. With such a well-executed convertible hardtop, there's a lot to like.
Which 4 Series does Edmunds recommend?
BMW 4 Series models
The 2020 BMW 4 Series Convertible comes in two trims — 430i or 440i — that differ mostly by engine type. The 430i comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque), while the 440i uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine (326 hp and 332 lb-ft).
2020 BMW 4 Series videos
2018 BMW 430i Track Test
NOTE: This video is about the 2018 BMW 4 Series, but since the 2020 BMW 4 Series is part of the same generation, our earlier analysis still applies.
Our experts’ favorite 4 Series safety features:
- BMW Assist eCall
- Automatically calls for help in the event of a collision and allows passengers to contact roadside assistance with a single button.
- Active Blind-Spot Detection
- Warns if there is a vehicle in or approaching your blind spot with visual alerts or vibration through the steering wheel.
- Forward Collision Warning
- Alerts you if the system detects a possible front collision and automatically applies the brakes if you don't react in time.
BMW 4 Series vs. the competition
2020 BMW 4 Series
2019 Audi A5
BMW 4 Series vs. Audi A5
Audi has long played catchup to BMW's vaunted 3 Series and now 4 Series coupes, but no more. In the last few years, Audi's A5 has measured up and in some ways — notably tech offerings, style and driving engagement — surpassed its German rival. The A5 tends to handle a bit more adroitly than the 4 Series, but it does so at the expense of ride comfort.
BMW 4 Series vs. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
One of the granddaddies of rivalries, BMW and Mercedes have staked their claims well with similar kinds of cars. Mercedes has long taken the lead in ride comfort, safety innovation and general luxury refinement, ceding the "sport" end of the segment to BMW. But today's C-Class Coupe is every bit as engaging as the 4 Series, and sometimes more so.
BMW 4 Series vs. Lexus RC 300
Lexus has found an opening among its German competitors by offering a luxury coupe with distinctive styling and loads of standard features at a lower price. Compared to the 4 Series, the RC 300 isn't as sporty. But if you like to travel in comfort and style, the RC 300 (or the related RC 350) is a great pick.
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Is the BMW 4 Series a good car?
What's new in the 2020 BMW 4 Series?
According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 BMW 4 Series:
- Minor tweaks to feature availability
- Part of the first 4 Series generation introduced for 2014
Is the BMW 4 Series reliable?
Is the 2020 BMW 4 Series a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2020 BMW 4 Series?
The least-expensive 2020 BMW 4 Series is the 2020 BMW 4 Series 430i 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $53,100.
Other versions include:
- 440i xDrive 2dr Convertible AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $62,150
- 430i 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $53,100
- 440i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $60,150
- 430i xDrive 2dr Convertible AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) which starts at $55,100