New range-topping convertible might pack a 302bhp turbocharged engine, but it lacks the dynamism you might expect and feels underwhelming

What is it?

This is our first go in BMW’s range-topping 4-series convertible on UK roads.

To recap, the 4-series is the new name for the 3-series coupe and convertible models. This side of an M4, the 435i is the most potent model offered, powered by the familiar turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol engine from the 335i.

Our test car is in the also familiar and popular M Sport trim, which brings with it the usual range of cosmetic and mechanical upgrades, a body kit, 18-inch alloys (19-inch alloys are optional), sports seats, new badges, and stiffer suspension.

What's it like?

Given how excellent the 3-series and 4-series coupé are to drive, you’d expect similar from the 4-series convertible, particularly in its most sporting flavour. The reality is somewhat different.

It’s a good car for wafting around in, enjoying the summer sunshine with the roof down. For the interior looks great, feels great and is a doddle to use, and the exterior design – with the roof down at least – is classy. Many heads will turn when a 4-series convertible passes. 

But try and drive the 435i convertible with any kind of enthusiasm and you’ll be left underwhelmed. The steering lacks any real feel and feels very vague around the straight-ahead, trying to hide the fact that this is a heavy car with not the stiffest chassis in the world, but not doing a very good job of it.

The ride is decent, but lacks the suppleness of other 3-series models, and does deteriorate over more broken surfaces with the roof down, particularly about town. There’s little verve to the handling either, and nothing encouraging you to push harder in search of a smile. 

Another mixed bag is the engine, which is fabulously smooth and refined, but never feels as brisk as the headline figures suggest. 

Should I buy one?

The 435i convertible M Sport is a stylish, comfortable choice, but certainly not a sporting or engaging one. A pity, as you’d expect a fair bit more dynamic sparkle from a BMW, particularly in this flavour. 

BMW 435i convertible M Sport

Price £46,890 0-62mph 5.5sec Top speed 155mph Economy 36.7mpg (combined) CO2 180g/km Kerb weight 1825kg Engine 6cyls, 2979cc, turbocharged, petrol Power 302bhp at 5800-6000rpm Torque 295lb ft at 1200-5000rpm Gearbox 8-speed automatic

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, autocar.co.uk website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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mjs_nz 13 August 2014

Strange comparison

Really strange review - why would you compare a convertible to a coupe or sedan - completely different cars really. If you want a light dynamic handling car buy a coupe, if you want a more practical car buy a sedan, if you want open air motoring above all else you buy a convertible. It really comes down to the buyers preference. Would be far better if there was a comparison to the audi convertible, lexus etc.
spqr 3 August 2014

Familiar stuff

Another under developed poorly driving BMW convertible. Just like the Z4. Is because BMW engineers have been told to work on bloated SUVs and rubbish FWD vans with windows? Could be.
Lover of cars 1 August 2014

Too fat by half....

Add some options, some passengers and this thing will be over 2 tonnes. If they do an X-drive version I bet it makes a Disco look slim by comparison. Diesel Disco probably does better mpg.