2018 Convertible Buying Guide & Convertible Reviews

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Convertible buying guide

There's no experience that can match a drive in a convertible. With the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and no metal roof between you and all the great sights this country has to offer, we can think of no finer way to travel. Today's convertibles are better than ever: Modern soft tops feature multilayer insulation to keep out weather and road noise, while retractable hardtops seal up as tight as a steel-roof coupe. Most convertibles now feature power-operated tops, dispensing with fiddly tonneau covers and knuckle-scraping latches. All in all, the convertibles you can buy right now give up little in terms of comfort, practicality and convenience to hardtop coupes.

There's no experience that can match a drive in a convertible. With the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and no metal roof between you and all the great sights this country has to offer, we can think of no finer way to travel. Today's convertibles are better than ever: Modern soft tops feature multilayer insulation to keep out weather and road noise, while retractable hardtops seal up as tight as a steel-roof coupe. Most convertibles now feature power-operated tops, dispensing with fiddly tonneau covers and knuckle-scraping latches. All in all, the convertibles you can buy right now give up little in terms of comfort, practicality and convenience to hardtop coupes.

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2019 BMW Z4 First Drive

Edmunds Senior Reviews Editor Mark Takahashi got the opportunity to drive the all-new 2019 BMW Z4 roadster in Portugal. He wasn't a fan of previous Z4s and was hoping that this redesign would bring back some of the lively spirit of the Z3 and other past BMW roadsters. In the process of trying to answer that question, Mark delves into more practical concerns and assesses how the Z4 stacks up against the competition.

Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] MARK TAKAHASHI: In the mid 1990s, BMW came out with a new roadster called the Z3. It was fun, it was light, it was lively. I was a big fan, especially of the Z3M, which had a lot more power. The follow-up, the Z4, was a bit of a disappointment for me. It felt heavy, disconnected. Kind of took me out of the equation. And that was a bummer. And the follow-ups to the Z4, well, they kind of suffered the same fate. But what we have here is the all new 2019 BMW Z4. And I'm here in Portugal to find out if it can reclaim some of that fun spirit that the Z3 had. [MUSIC PLAYING] Before I get too deep into the Z4, do me a favor and hit subscribe. We've got a lot of content coming your way. When this goes on sale in March, we're expecting the base Z4 30i to start right around $50,000. That's going to have a two liter turbocharged 4-cylinder puts out 255 horsepower. This, however, is the Z4 M40i. It has a three liter inline six turbo charge that puts out 382 horsepower. With that spec, as well as the lightweight nature of this roadster, there's a lot of potential for this to be a lot of fun. The best way to find out is to take it for a spin. [MUSIC PLAYING] 382 horsepower. On paper, that's pretty impressive, but honestly, it doesn't feel like it has that much power. It's got power to pass. But I think takes a little while for the turbo to spool up, so it's not a lot of punch right when you hit the pedal. And that's OK. I mean, it's comfortable. It's not a full on sports car. But I did expect a little more. Otherwise, I mean, it's a very pleasant driving car. There's not a lot to knock it for. With the top up, it's fairly quiet. At highway speeds, there is some whistling, but I actually think it's coming off the mirrors, not so much the top itself. There's a decent amount of road noise, but you kind of expect that with a roadster, any roadster. And the handling, well, it's pretty sharp. Like most cars today, there's very little steering feel, but most drivers nowadays don't know what steering feel is. The ride quality is pretty good. You feel what you should feel in a roadster like this. It's not jarring, and it's not too soft either. It's well tuned. For normal touring like what I'm doing right now, the brakes feel good. It's an adequately firm pedal, but had the opportunity to turn a few laps at Esteril yesterday in the Z4 and in that setting, the brake pedal actually felt a little soft. The seat comfort is good. I've got good lateral support, and it's not overly aggressive. It should fit a variety of people. What I want to do now is check out the top. Let's see. Let's see how long it takes. That was pretty quick. Oh, I'm also hearing a nice little turbo whoosh with a top down. The buffeting's not too bad. We're not at highway speeds. We're kind of, what is this? 72 kilometers an hour. Does that come out to about 40 something? We do have that wind screen installed. And it's pretty easy to see out of. With the top down, it doesn't really change the character that much. It is really pleasant. Like a lot of BMWs the traction control is pretty well tuned. On track yesterday when we're really pushing it hard, it'll let you hang the tail out just a little bit. And as long as you stay in the throttle, it'll let you hold it there. Once you exceed those parameters though, it will snap you right back in line, and that's a good thing. I really didn't have that much desire to disable stability control, even on track. One thing I'm not too hot on is the lane keep assist. It's really aggressive, and it felt like I was fighting the wheel, even though I was still centered in the lane. And that's too bad, because I do like event safety systems, and I never like having to disable them because they're too aggressive or send out false alarms. Even though I like the power in this M40i, I was still hoping for a little more life out of it. I really think most drivers are going to be fine with the 30i. After driving this Z4 M40i on some epic roads in Portugal, I can say it is tons better than the previous Z4s. Is it as good as a Z3 and Z3M was before it? I don't think so. It's coming really close though. Maybe the Z4M, if and when that comes out, has a better chance. And in the class, it's competing against the new Porsche Boxster, which is also really fun, but the sound of that new engine just doesn't do it for me. They are both really great cars. It's just not getting me as excited as I was hoping to be. For more information on the Z4, as well as its competition, head on over to edmunds.com. To see more videos like this, hit subscribe. [MUSIC PLAYING]

2019 BMW Z4 First Drive
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convertible buying info

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