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      04-13-2014, 06:27 PM   #1
Jason
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Post Our BMW 435i Convertible Review

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Meeting expectations: The BMW 435i Convertible
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By Jens Meiners

We are no big fans of the changeover from the 3-series to the 4-series moniker, but at least BMW is making the transition as easy as possible. The proven concept remains unchanged, and the styling is so evolutionary that a casual observer might find it difficult to tell the difference.

The 4-series Convertible grows slightly in almost every dimension: At 182.6 inches, it is 0.7 inches longer than its predecessor; at 71.9 inches, it is 1.7 inches wider; and its wheelbase grows by 1.9 to 110.6 inches. At least it is lower - at 54.2 inches, which is 0.3 less than before. The 48 per cent front and 52 per cent rear weight distribution remains unchanged.

BMW says the open-top 4-series is "up to 44 lbs lighter" than its porky predecessor, but that isn't true of the 435i Convertible, which we drove: It comes in at a whopping 4,095 lbs, almost 100 lbs more than before - and 400 lbs more than the fixed-roof 4-series. The heavy and complex roof mechanism is a carryover unit from the 3-series and remains almost unchanged. BMW had considered switching to a fabric top, such as the Audi A5 and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet have, but ultimately conservative forces prevailed. At least the roof can now be opened or closed while the car is driving - up to 11 mph. You won't block the intersection if you miscalculate the red-light phase.

BMW offers two engines: The turbocharged, 240-horsepower N20 four-banger in the 428i, and the turbocharged, 300-horsepower N55 straight-six in the 435i. The former 328i's suave, naturally aspirated 3.0-liter straight-six is history, and so is the six-speed manual transmission. The 4-series Cabriolet comes with an eight-speed automatic only, which replaces the formerly used six-speed slushbox.

The 435i's direct-injected, single-turbo N55 engine matches the responsiveness of the twin-turbocharged N54 which was used for a few years in the 335i, and it is a lot more efficient: In other BMW models, this writer has experienced real-life efficiency gains of 10 per cent and more. But it is hardly a match for the sound quality of the N54, not to mention BMW's now-defunct naturally aspirated sixes. There is a sharp edge to the engine note, and the sound does not quite put BMW in a category of its own anymore. Moreover, the 435i Convertible is so heavy that it does not feel particularly fast. In fairness, the actual numbers - zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 130 or 155 mph, depending on the tires - are impressive. But it just doesn't feel this fast, especially when compared to BMW's own four-door 335i. Thanks to abundant low-end torque and the busy-bee eight-speed slushbox, the 435i Convertible is reasonably quick around town and on the freeway, but this car certainly doesn't encourage racing a Boxster, or just a well-driven 3-series.

It is most comfortable on the boulevard, especially when fitted with the Luxury package - like our test car. There is noticeably more body flex than in the fixed-roof 435i Coupe, and this couldn't be any different, given its open-top design. The steering is reasonably precise, but it still lacks the wonderfully balanced weight and feedback of the old hydraulic system. So it is best to keep a reasonable pace, lower the top, and enjoy the comfortable seats and the well-equipped interior. We especially liked the ash grain wood trim with metal inlays and the functional instrumentation. The front seats are firm and comfortable, and the rear seats offer enough room for extended outings.

But there is shadow as well: This writer is not keen on certain BMW peculiarities such as the cumbersome gear selector, or the need to acknowledge input errors through the tap of the iDrive controller. Few situations are more irritating than pushing the wrong button on the gear selector when making a three-point turn, only to see an idiot screen pop up, which hides the rearview camera at the moment when it is most sorely needed. It would also be great if there were a way to keep the transmission from brutally slamming into "Park" when reversing with an open door and unbuckled seat belt. And while the materials look generally rich, the cost-cutting is a bit too obvious in the hard plastic part below the heating and air conditioning controls.

The 435i Convertible is offered from $54,900, although we suspect that few customers will stick to the somewhat stark basic trim. An additional $1,400 will get them a Luxury or a Sport Package; $2,600 buy the M Sport package. There is strong competition in the form of the Audi A5 and the Mercedes-Benz E-class Cabriolet, each with a distinct personality. But if you prefer a folding hard top, the new 4-series is by far the most appealing choice against the poorly aging Infiniti Q60 and Lexus IS Convertible. With enhanced looks and significantly improved efficiency, BMW's latest Convertible will keep its customers happy.

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      04-13-2014, 06:43 PM   #2
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Not especially auspicious....cost cutting on plastics on a BMW that is a boulevard cruiser
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      04-13-2014, 06:43 PM   #3
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      04-13-2014, 06:44 PM   #4
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      04-13-2014, 06:45 PM   #5
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I know that for the first time BMW is offering xDrive on the 3/4 series convertible, however only with the 28i engine. Does anyone know when/if BMW NA will offer it with the 35i engine?
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      04-13-2014, 07:12 PM   #6
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Mercedes vert >> Audi >>>>>> BMW


Pretty much the only advantage BMW has at this point is the hard top.
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      04-13-2014, 07:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer-Mac View Post
I know that for the first time BMW is offering xDrive on the 3/4 series convertible, however only with the 28i engine. Does anyone know when/if BMW NA will offer it with the 35i engine?

I would guess so. Perhaps closer to fall/winter.
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      04-13-2014, 07:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taipei-TT View Post
Not especially auspicious....cost cutting on plastics on a BMW that is a boulevard cruiser
I don't agree that it has anything to do with the material, but rather the design and fit of the panels and pieces. I've looked at an Audi A4 and found that the Audi has an interior that feels more luxurious because it is built like, shall I say, an iPhone. The materials are the same hard plastic with the same surface texture. But the way the pieces are designed and put together makes the Audi look more expensive.
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      04-13-2014, 07:32 PM   #9
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      04-13-2014, 08:47 PM   #10
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BMW should have gone w/ the Cloth Top ! ! ! !
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      04-13-2014, 09:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red-sauerkraut View Post
BMW should have gone w/ the Cloth Top ! ! ! !
I disagree.... I would not have bot the M3 vert and now an M4 vert on order if they have soft tops.....
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      04-13-2014, 09:31 PM   #12
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Soft top is still missed by some. But I have grown to like the hardtop convertibles.
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      04-13-2014, 10:21 PM   #13
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Another nail in the coffin of the manual transmission.
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      04-13-2014, 10:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentassasin
Soft top is still missed by some. But I have grown to like the hardtop convertibles.
It's all good.

It's just that the car is a porker and looks to much like the 3er it replaces so it doesn't look like a new car. Does look better but they should have used aluminum or the in house CFRP on the top to keep the weight down.
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      04-13-2014, 10:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpine F31 View Post
Another nail in the coffin of the manual transmission.
This. But come onů I would feel burdened driving a 4100lb manual convertible car. Give me that in auto for DD in traffic and ill have a manual for the weekends
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      04-13-2014, 11:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red-sauerkraut View Post
BMW should have gone w/ the Cloth Top ! ! ! !
I disagree. BMW did a very good choice, they address to a wider niche of customers, the car can be even the single car for many, a nice Cabrio in the summer, a practical coupe in the winter that will be able to keep the inside warm without compromising the trunk and force you to buy a separate hardtop, cozy and sealed properly, not noisy, not to mention no soft top will ever contribute to the stiffness of the body like a hard top.
I don't like convertibles but if I will buy one, it will be a hardtop. Cloth can die forever.
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      04-13-2014, 11:23 PM   #17
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Yeah, never liked a soft top. Other than saving weight, which i doubt is a priority with convertibles anyway, the look of one makes me cringe. To my eyes, it ruins the design of the car. Hardtop all the way.
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      04-13-2014, 11:29 PM   #18
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Ouch!

I hope this isn't a sign of what's to come with the M4 vert.
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      04-13-2014, 11:40 PM   #19
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I don't like convertibles but if I will buy one, it will be a hardtop. Cloth can die forever.[/quote]
Yeah...I have to disagree. I have a "lowly" 1 vert and the top is really insulated well from both the elements and road noise. The hard vert top kills this cars fun factor.
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      04-14-2014, 12:00 AM   #20
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Idk but I've never liked a vert anyways... 4 series vert... Not impressed. Too boxy, but if I ever had to choose a very it DEFINITELY would be hard top.
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      04-14-2014, 12:27 AM   #21
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The S5 Cabrio kills it!

Add xDrive and it weighs a grip...

AUDI understand the customer just like BMW does with the 6er Vert.

Add a remapped ECU to the twin-screwed S5 and it is over for the 4er. No contest.
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      04-14-2014, 02:42 AM   #22
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I had mine (435i) out on a more spirited drive on our mountain roads with some friends this weekend, the car is clearly not a sports car, you feel that it is heavy, the standard M supsension is a bit to soft, it tends to understeer, but the car is very rigid for a 4 place convertible.
It just does not like beeing "trashed arround".

On the other hand I have been absolutely pleased for everyday driving with it, cruising home after work on a sunny day is just a real pleasure. And that what it has been made for.
I also drove the 428i for several weeks waiting for mine to arrive, It feels a bit lighter but I really can't stand the 4 cyl. engine in this car. Sounds terrible, feels terrible. Ok for a touring but not for driving top down. (just my 2c)
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