Fast, grippy, confidence-inspiring and good looking. There’s a lot to like here. But the Coupe is still the driver’s choice
Find a rough enough bit of road, and the chop-top M4 will still shake its head in frustration, and not the lightest of cars
What is it?
The convertible version of BMW’s M4 Competition xDrive, to be literal. So the same 503bhp 3.0-litre straight six turbo with the gloriously unintrusive BMW four-wheel drive system that can be switched to rear-wheel drive if you so wish (there’s no uniquely rear-wheel drive version available), the same brawny, big-chested delivery, the same buck-toothed face.
Saying that, the old car’s metal folding hard-top is ditched in favour of a 40 per cent lighter fabric roof, and because fabric folds more easily than metal, the M4’s bum gets a more pleasing profile. And it’s fast fast. It might be 0.2-of-a-second slower to 62mph than the hard top at 3.7 seconds, but you’ve got to have an inbuilt human dynobottom to feel that in the real world, and on a smooth road it’s got grip and feel to spare. Other than that, there are four seats for almost full-size humans, lots of adjustability and a price tag of £83,355 without options. So not exactly buttons.
You haven’t mentioned the nose!
Sigh. It’s probably best left to your own sense of style to work out whether you like the M4’s deep nostrils/squirrelly face furniture. Suffice to say that it’s extremely colour sensitive - darker colours suit it better, contrast doing it no favours. It’s certainly mellowing with exposure, but you are left wondering what might have been. It’s certainly got some decent angles to it - especially when you can see the M4’s bonnet vents punching through on the top surface of the grilles.
More excitingly, the convertible gets a much more shapely rear deck thanks to the fabric rather than metal roof, and more luggage space than before at 300-litres, with a bit more when the roof is up. There’s a really pleasing profile roof up or down, and it doesn’t seem to lose much for having material up top, because it’s quiet enough, warm enough and generally excellent. Oh, and the roof will open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 18 seconds in a pleasingly mechanical ballet.
What's the verdict?
Fearsomely fast, good-looking roof up or down - apart from the rear headrests which are a bit lumpen - with a top-drawer all-wheel drive system, the M4 Comp Convertible is pretty much all you need for rapid open-air motoring. But anything past 7/10ths on a rough bit of road, you feel the loss of the roof particularly keenly, and with the 3.0-litre turbo straight six really going for it, that’s not ideal. Even though you can play with the settings to mitigate some of the inconsistencies, it leaves you wondering if one of the less-aggressively-engined 4 Series xDrive convertibles would be just as good for swanning around, for less cash. Because of that, keen drivers would be best to head for the xDrive coupe if they want the BMW badge.
But there’s something to be said about hearing that six-cylinder engine on song without the roof getting in the way that really appeals. And it’s still cheaper than an AMG C-Class (which itself isn’t the latest version of the C-Class even at £88,700), and you’ll be looking at a Porsche 911 Convertible with smaller back seats and a lot less oomph for just under 100k. Lots to like, in that case. Just beware some of the possible colour combinations - the configurator is not necessarily your friend.