Convertible version retains folding tin-top, as rivals stick to rag-tops
It doesn't look revolutionary at all . . .
That's because BMW has stuck to pure evolution for its new 4-series Convertible, explaining why its roof profile looks so similar to that of the outgoing 3-series Convertible.
And since the Convertible is merely an open-top version of the 4-series Coupe, the new proportions are very predictable including shorter overhangs and substantially wider tracks for a more athletic appearance.
The 4,638mm length and 2,810mm wheelbase is 26mm and 50mm longer respectively than before.
The Mercedes-Benz E-class Cabriolet, in contrast, has a shorter 2,760mm wheelbase but a longer overall length of 4,703mm.
But the Merc has a classier soft-top . . .
That's really going to depend on personal tastes. Sure, many cabrio lovers find canvas more appealing because that's what constitutes to a classic open-top sports car. The Audi A5 Cabriolet, as well, prefers quilt over metal.
But BMW believes that folding hard-tops _ which can open or close in 20sec in the case of the 4-series Convertible _ offer more practicality for all kinds of seasons, with added refinement and external noise suppression when the car is driven with the roof up.
That's why they've stuck to this concept which, in fact, is something Lexus also believes in for its aging IS-C.
But it's heavy, isn't it?
The weight differences between the E-class and 4-series open-toppers are nearly negligible, if their circa 1.7-tonne figures provided by their makers are anything to go by.
Armed with 184hp 2.0-litre diesel-turbo, the 420d accelerates from 0-100kph in 8.2sec _ the same time required by the E200 with its 184hp 2.0-litre petrol-turbo. Of course, the upshot of the 420d is a superior 20.8kpl average, although the E200 is going to counter with an inevitably quieter engine at standstill.
But you really can't compare these two because one's a petrol and the other's a diesel.
Yeah. What are the 420i's specs like?
Although the 420i Convertible would serve as a direct rival for the E200 Cabriolet _ which currently retails at 3.99 million baht in Thailand _ it isn't available initially for any world markets yet.
The two petrol-turbo variances announced for the 4-series Convertible are the 245hp 2.0-litre four-pot in the 428i and 306hp 3.0-litre sixer in the 435i, both of which would exceed 5 million baht due to the Kingdom's 220hp tax barrier.
That said, BMW Thailand might have to do with a clattering engine first _ in spite of some benefits diesel offers over petrol counterparts _ unless they wait a little longer into 2014.