This car could not have come at a better time to test. Actually, come to think of it anytime is a good time to drive a convertible in Durban. With humid summers and pleasantly warm winters (gotta love that bit), Durban should actually be the capital for open-top driving! I got to drive the facelifted BMW 420i Convertible, here are my thoughts on this drop top beauty.
Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of hardtop convertibles. The BMW 420i Convertible looks amazing with the top up or down. I like how the metal roof retains the coupe’s sexy shape. Even though the roof takes 20 seconds to open and close, it is just pure art to watch. Being the updated model, we see it has received new LED rear lights, new LED headlights (this model was fitted with the optional Adaptive LED headlights ), new reshaped front & rear bumpers, new wheel designs and two new colours available exclusively for the 4 Series range. My test car was fitted with the M Sport Package which includes some beautiful 19-inch wheels (which provide a comfortable ride even with low profile rubber), it has that athletic presence with a hint of classiness.
The interior of the 420i Convertible has a premium feel. Nothing in the cabin feels cheap or flimsy. Every panel feels proper, either finished with some soft-touch leather or some high-quality plastics. There is plenty of headroom and legroom compared to its rivals, this is a full four-seat convertible with enough head and legroom for rear occupants too. My test model had by far the most beautiful interior, finished in Dakota Coral Red leather it looks amazing against the white paint job on the 420i Convertible. Some of the latest gadgetry from the 5 and 7 Series has made its way into the 4 Series range. It rocks BMW’s latest Connected-Drive infotainment system that brings high-quality audio (Harmon/Kardon Surround Sound System on my test car), satnav and other useful digital tools.
Power comes from BMW’s 2.0 Litre TwinPower 4 cylinder power plant making 135kW @ 5000 rpm and 270 N.m of torque from 1250-4500 rpm. Power is sent to the rear via its 8-Speed Steptronic transmission. 100 km/h is achieved in 8.4 seconds (this baby is quite heavy), it is slow compared to its bigger engine sibling the 440i Convertible which achieves the sprint in 5.4 seconds. Then again the 420i is built more for cruising rather than headrest bashing robot-to-robot racing against Mercedes-AMG C43 convertibles. BMW claims 5.8 l/100km with me besting just 9 l/100km, a number that I feel is reasonably efficient. Let me explain, just like the BMW 420i GranCoupe under hard acceleration emits a subtle but exquisite “Vrrr pha” and with the roof down it sounds even more epic. After hooning around you do however have an option to switch off Sport+ mode and engage either Comfort or ECO mode by a touch of a button to enjoy the ride. Advanced driver assist in the range features autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pedestrian warning, surround view and a reverse camera.
The BMW 420i Convertible is one heck of a car and is perfectly suited for the Durban environment. It retails R 715, 400.00 which is competitively priced when pitted against its rivals the Mercedes-Benz C200 Cabriolet (R 706,900.00) and the Audi 2.0T FSI S Tronic Cabriolet (R689, 000.00). When tallying up the optional extras on this car it sends the price surging past R 800, 000.00 and it kind of makes you wonder… Why not get the BMW M240i Convertible? If space is not an issue to you, then it might be option number two considering it offers more performance in a smaller package. What do you think?
- Engine: 2.0 TwinPower 4 cyl
- Power: 135kW @ 5000 rpm
- Torque: 270 N.m @ 1250-4500 rpm
- Transmission: 8 Speed Automatic Steptronic
- Acceleration: 0 – 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds (claimed)
- Fuel Consumption: 5.8l per 100km
- Price: R 715, 400.00(without options)