Picture yourself driving through the suburbs of Sydney in the middle of winter. Chances are you’re imagining the windows up, the heater blasting and above all, a roof over your head. You’d be forgiven for having these thoughts given how cold it’s been recently, but the new BMW 420i Convertible brings a much-needed touch of summer to the colder months. As we discovered during our recent trip to the beach with it, the 2017 model has received some noteworthy nips and tucks.
Not wanting to stray too far from its elegant design, BMW has kept the shape of this year’s 420i largely similar to previous models. What is new, however, is the addition of two new colours; Snapper Rocks Blue and Sunset Orange. These two options are exclusive to the 4 Series range and provide a sporty touch to the convertible in particular. Also introduced this year are strengthened bi-LED headlights, which really make the ride (and the road) stand out in night time conditions.
Moving around to the rear of the car, boot volume isn’t plentiful with the 420i – but you don’t exactly enter the convertible market for the extra space. The rear bumper assembly has received a slight tweak in its shape for a curvier finish to the L-shaped tail lights. As for the rims, the Convertible gets a brand new pair of shoes with 19-inch light alloys, providing a nice combination of sport and style.
With the roof up, the car feels just as solid and sturdy as any of the non-convertible 4 Series cars which is a welcome feature for those who want the best of both worlds.
Much like the outside of the car, the slick interior of the 420i Convertible is consistent with an already popular design blueprint. The upholstery on the seats complements the car’s stylish feel courtesy of Dakota leather. The sports Nora leather steering wheel is also nice to the touch. These trim options are customisable with the 4 Series, allowing you to pick and choose your desired style.
As much of our test drive with the 420i was spent in the city, the iDrive 6 infotainment system proved quite helpful for navigation. The accuracy of response to voice commands with the roof up was faultless, but we did have to be a bit more deliberate in our speech when driving sans hard-top. iDrive’s real-time traffic information has also been built into the GPS and made finding the quickest route to the beach stress-free.
That being said, no shoreside trip is complete without tunes blasting throughout the day. We got a lot of use out of the iDrive’s Apple CarPlay function, which required a simple Bluetooth connection to get started. Our favourite house playlist sounded great and was surprisingly undisturbed even when we had the roof down.
One minor drawback of the iDrive 6 interface would have to be its usability in comparison to the previous BMW system. We can appreciate that tech upgrades are often a good thing, but we really loved the older version as it was so intuitive. Processes such as switching in between the car’s rear and surround-view cameras felt a little lengthy. That aside, it’s still a well-rounded infotainment system.
Taking The Top Off
The topless experience we had in the 420i was very enjoyable, and feeling the gentle breeze on our face was actually quite liberating. Despite the roof being down, the combination of seat warmers and soft sun rays was far more comfortable than we’d have thought possible for a convertible in winter. One press of a button started the transition, which took about 20 seconds to complete. Roof removal looked simple and seamless – the mark of any quality convertible.
The 420i Convertible is a well-equipped option for zipping around town and having fun while doing it. It drove just as smoothly as any BMW does and that’s characteristic of its modern German engineering. In an effort to cement the 4 Series as a style/sport amalgamation, the suspension has been slightly stiffened to provide grippier handling without compromising comfort.
Final Thoughts – BMW 420i Convertible Review
Sometimes changes to a car are best made with subtlety, and that’s certainly true with the 420i Convertible. After handing back the keys, we can say the refreshed 2017 version achieves a satisfying balance of comfort and beachside fun. The 420i Convertible is now available for $87,900.