by John Tallodi
The M4 Convertible offers performance motoring for those interested in the dynamically capable M range but would also like to enjoy some open-topped cruising in-between those spirited weekend drives.
The updates for 2018 include an increased base specification level and a newly available Competition Package.
The M4 Convertible shares its interior with that of the M3 sedan and M4 coupe, the dashboard and doors are covered in materials you would expect of a car bearing this sort of price tag and the front seats are perfectly shaped for both press-on driving as well as longer cruises.
The rear seats of the convertible are a fair bit tighter than in the sedan version and while shorter passengers may have just about enough leg and headroom, taller people will prefer the folding roof to be in the retracted position. The new iDrive system now offers the latest modern tech features although the sheer number of settings it controls can require a period of acclimatization if you are new to the system.
Trunk space is not overly generous, having to share some space with the folding roof mechanism although the wide opening and deep cargo area make the most of the space that is available.
The heavier convertible bodyshell most probably have an adverse effect on the razor-sharp handling characteristics of the hard-top variants although you would be hard-pressed to notice any real difference on the road.
The strong power delivery and accurate steering are still very evident and make for a satisfying drive over challenging terrain, the body control is superb too although it can get a bit too firm over bumpy road surfaces. BMW does offer a standard suspension setup for those looking for a less sporty ride which may better suit the Convertible variant. The folding metal roof provides additional sound-deadening over an equivalent fabric top and the cabin is quiet at cruising speeds.
The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 producing 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque is shared with the coupe and sedan, power is sent to the rear-wheels and you can choose between a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
The heavier mass of the convertible M4 sees it trailing the coupe by three-tenths to 60mph, a dual-clutch equipped car takes 4.2-seconds for the benchmark which is still plenty quick enough for the class. The Competition Package offers an additional 19 hp which shaves another tenth of that time.
The claimed fuel consumption figure is an impressive 25mpg in combined city/highway driving which is identical to the lighter coupe.
The BMW M4 convertible is offered in one trim level which is largely identical to its coupe stablemate except for a neck warmer option which adds heating air vents below the front seat headrests.
Standard options are comprehensive and includes an 8.8-inch iDrive system, 16-speaker audio system, 10-way power heated front seats with memory function for the driver, adaptive suspension, active rear differential, adaptive headlights, keyless ignition, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, power folding mirrors and leather upholstery. Apple CarPlay is available but is not fitted as standard.
The Executive Package adds a head-up display, speed limit info, parking assistant, adaptive full LED headlights, automatic high beams and park distance control with side and top view cameras.
The M Competition Package pushes power up to 444 hp from 425 hp, and adds a more direct steering ratio, new settings for the adaptive M suspension in all 3 modes, DSC and active M differential and 20-inch alloy wheels.
Additional safety systems include park distance control, active blind spot detection and an active driving assistant which features forward collision and pedestrian warning systems.
A head-up display, wireless charging and Wi-Fi hotspot, leather covered dashboard, Carbon Ceramic Brakes and an M Driver Package are also available as is standard suspension calibration for increased comfort.
The M4 convertible may not be the latest offering in this sector but detail changes and superb handling dynamics help keep it competitive against the newer competition.
A full range of luxury and safety options and the choice to either tone down the sports suspension settings or further increase dynamism through the Competition Pack further increase the M4 Convertible’s appeal.