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.