A Bimmer For Summer
Spring has sprung and now’s the time to get your top down if you own a convertible.
`Losing’ the roof adds a new dimension to your driving experience linking you directly to the immediate environment. Smell the flowers, feel the warm breeze, hear the birdies tweet.
You know what I mean.
BMW’s 420i convertible is an excellent example of how much extra fun you can get from your car with the top down.
It’s the entry point for BMW’s 4-series drop top range selling for $87,900 and was recently upgraded in a mid-life makeover that brought more technology and features to an already advanced car.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre, turbo, four cylinder, petrol engine with 135kW/270Nm output. This engine drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed conventional automatic transmission helping the sleek convertible achieve 6.2-litres/100km fuel economy.
That’s an impressive number for a car this size and weight with the performance it delivers.
While most 420i convertibles will be in silver or white, the test car was a colour called sunset orange and was absolutely stunning to look at in any light.
Not for everyone though.
The folding hard top is in segments and takes a while to retract or deploy but tucks away neatly under a rear cover for a smooth look.
There’s plenty of headroom under the roof in all four seats and a reasonable boot when the roof is down.
So, there’s no problem taking a few mates along for the ride in your 420i unlike some convertibles that lack both head and legroom in the back.
It’s a technically sophisticated car in more ways than just the engine and transmission with adaptive suspension giving a comfortable ride in a range of driving environments, even with the low profile 19-inch rubber.
Standard kit includes LED headlights, dual zone climate control, park distance control at the front and rear and leather upholstery with heated front seats.
It has the latest version of BMW’s excellent ConnectedDrive infotainment that brings premium audio, satnav and other useful digital tools.
Boosting safety is the full suite of BMW’s advanced driver assist features including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pedestrian warning, surround view and a reverse camera.
It’s not what you would call a quick car clocking a 0-100kmh split in 8.4 seconds but the drive feel is nimble and responsive complemented by paddle shift and a pleasing bark from the exhaust. Three drive modes are available; Normal, Eco and Sport+. Additional handling capability is provided by the electronic differential lock.
Wind intrusion into the passenger compartment is minimal.
It looks quite sexy with a sporty coupe profile and low ride height. Bit like a crouching athlete in some respects.
The interior provides a high level of luxury and is a great on long or short trips.