BMW’s smooth new droptop

The BMW 4 Series was our Coupé of the Year winner for 2014 and this is the drop-top version, says John McIlroy in What Car.

It looks almost identical to the coupé models thanks to its folding hard-top (rather than fabric) roof – which folds into three pieces and can be stowed behind the rear seats. The car’s also pretty much the same inside, so you get a classy dashboard and BMW’s excellent iDrive ‘infotainment’ system.

The six-cylinder engine (in the 435i model) is also “characterful” and the automatic transmission “acquits itself well”, says McIlroy. The car doesn’t, however, feel quite as fast as its performance figures suggest (see below) because of its heft – it weighs “the thick end of 1,800kg”, which means you’ll be “resorting to kickdowns more often than you might expect when you’re in a hurry”. You notice the weight in the handling too.

Still, the car nevertheless “delivers pretty much all that could be asked of it. It’s refined enough with the roof up to be an everyday tool, yet stylish and accomplished enough with it down to be a relaxed, sophisticated cruiser.” Folding hard-tops can make a car look lardy, says Paul Horrell in Top Gear, but this BMW is pretty suave.

It’s true that you’ll feel the weight in the corners when you “drive the car with much spirit”, and it’s more of a cruiser to drive than a sports car. But it’s rather a good cruiser for all that, and that engine is “always a pleasure, never a chore”.

It’s more a car “for making journeys” than having fun in, but “when the sun’s out and the surroundings are glistening”, that’s “absolutely fine and dandy”.

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