BMW has recently given its Four Series Coupe, Gran Coupe (which James reviewed here) and Convertible a refresh with sharper prices, more kit and a new model, the BMW 440i Convertible.
Flopped off the Three series platform, the svelte Four series range is longer and wider, with its own distinctive, eye-catching styling.
The convertible BMW 440i we’re driving is a genuine four-seater, so friends can also enjoy its long list of pleasures.
Watching the electronically-operated, origami-like three-piece folding hardtop operate reminds you of the depth of engineering talent that goes into every BMW. Maximum driving appeal is delivered by the three-litre twin-scroll turbocharged six-cylinder engine, coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
To me, there is no better engine bark than that of a six-cylinder BMW in the upper rev range. None even get close.
And with the roof down on an isolated road, it is music to your ears.
Over the years I’ve driven many BMW’s and owned three. Every time I drive one they never fail to impress with their outstanding quality, fit, finish, style, comfort and most importantly, the way they drive, engaging the driver like very few others.
I like the BMW’s continuance of its traditional instrument layout comprising large circular dials for the speedo and tacho, and smaller versions for fuel and temperature and the familiar and time-honoured, kidney shaped grille.
Priced from $117,900, the 440i convertible is fully-loaded with; adaptive suspension, variable sport steering, active cruise control, adaptive LED Headlights, air collars that blow warm air onto your neck when the roof is retracted on cold days, a superb harman/kardon surround Sound system that includes digital radio, electrically-operated comfortable leather sports seats, driving and parking assist, sat nav, surround camera view, BMW connect drive that hooks you into the internet and lots of ‘M’ badges.
The test car also featured options of Anthracite (black) timber with Pearl Gloss chrome touches throughout the cabin, big meaty M Sport Brakes and stunning red metallic paintwork that tastefully complemented the cream leather trim, bringing the total price to $121,400 plus the usual on-road costs.
The interior is reasonably for those up front, but it’s a little cozy in the second row. Mind you, those that did ride in the back had no complaints.
If you love the idea of a convertible but don’t want your hair to get messed, the BMW Four series convertible is just the ticket. While the cliché…. wind in the hair motoring rings true, it is more a gentle breeze, rather than a blow wave, thanks to the clever design channelling most of the wind, over your head.
The only drawback is the roof steals most of the boot space when folded.
Still, that didn’t stop me from dropping the top every time the sun made an appearance, whether on an open road, traipsing through the city, or just heading to the shops.
Whenever I drive a convertible I instantly feel more relaxed, more at ease, I don’t get flustered by other road users or abusers and I don’t feel the need to rush around, just enjoy the drive and take in the scenery.
And the BMW 440i convertible obliges brilliantly.
There are few greater motoring pleasures than roof down motoring along deserted mountain roads.
The dappled light dancing on the bitumen, tall trees shading the sun, up and down hills, tight bends and open corners. You can tell the 440i, has been designed with the driver in mind.
In Comfort setting, the 440i convertible gently levels bumps and dips, adding to the serenity. As you flick through the multi-drive modes towards Sport, each setting alters steering, power delivery, ride stiffness and gearshifts, with it all becoming more noticeable, more engaging and more responsive.
When you want to press on and give the 440i a workout, like a true thoroughbred, it responds beautifully.
The six-cylinder symphony under the bonnet delivers its hammer-like power in a velvet glove. Its 240 kilowatts and 450 newton metres thrust the 440i to the legal limit in just 5.4 seconds and with reserves of power on tap, a silky-shifting eight-speed auto that keeps you in the engine’s sweet spot and Velcro-like tyre grip from the low-profile, run-flat boots; sling-shotting out of corners or overtaking becomes child’s play. And very addictive.
Perched on 19-inch alloy wheels that neatly fill the slightly flared guards, the 440i Convertible features flowing lines along its flanks, giving it an elegant and sporty look, its signature grille and headlight giving it an unmistakable on-road presence.
Keeping you safe as well as entertained are a cache of up-to-the-minute driver-assist and infotainment technologies.
I enjoyed my time with the 440i convertible. It brought back some great memories of my own Beemers, reminding me why I bought them in the first place.
The BMW 440i convertible is comfortable, stylish and delivers spades of driving enjoyment. The fact it can double so well as a boulevard cruiser and a genuine sport coupé is just icing on a very sweet Bavarian cake.
For more information on the BMW 440i convertible head to BMW Australia’s website.