Disillusion is a constant in life, like an ever-present pigeon waiting for you to drive out of the car wash.

Trust, it seems, is hard to come by. That’s why you don’t leave your car door unlocked. If we truly trusted each other, cars wouldn’t have locks. Of course, such things don’t bother convertible owners; all you need to break into their cars is a pocketknife. Truly, they have a higher level of trust than most of us.

Perhaps this is why the retractable hardtop seems the ideal solution for a disillusioned world.

True, even retractable hardtops come with issues. They’re bulky, meaning it takes a lot of space to stow them, markedly reducing trunk space. They add a serious amount of weight, an anathema to driving enthusiasts.

And there seems to be a limit to how these roofs’ sheet metal can be shaped while also being retractable, meaning that most retractable hardtops lack the sporting grace possessed by their soft-top brethren.

Today’s subject, the BMW 430i Convertible, looks ungainly compared to its coupe sibling, but fresh air access comes with compromises.


With classically conventional styling in the best BMW tradition, the 430i appears to be more the quiet conservative than loudmouth radical. Nevertheless, the 430i gets much better looking once the lid is lowered.

Stowing the 430i’s roof doesn’t take long, although it seems to take longer than you’d like, as if the mechanisms have arthritis. However, it’s an ingenious solution in a world where strangers can’t seem to be trusted.

But with the top down, a modest trunk turns meager. So if you’re traveling, or heading to Costco, pack light. Or lower the rear seatback, which transforms the legroom-deprived rear seat into a more appropriate storage hold.

Once underway, you’ll find wind management to be excellent, meaning that you can hold a conversation without screaming to be heard by your fellow passengers.

For BMW enthusiasts, performance matters more than trunk space, so let’s look at the numbers.

The BMW 4 Series comes as the turbocharged four-cylinder-powered 430i or six-cylinder-powered 440i, with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The 430i is rated at 248 horsepower, while the 440i comes with 320 horsepower. Both engines mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission. (Base prices: $51,650-$60,700.)


Opting for the former engine propels the car to 60 mph in 6 seconds; opting for the later reduces that to 5.1 seconds. (There’s also a high-performance M4 Convertible, with a variety of performance enhancements, but that’s a different review.)

Certainly, the 430i that I tested never felt underpowered, with minimal turbo lag and lots of power for passing at speed. An added benefit is its fuel economy, which measured a respectable 27 mpg. That’s very good given the amount of time spent with the roof down, which hurts aerodynamics, and thus fuel economy.

For the record, the EPA rates the 430i at 24 mpg city, 34 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive. Adding all-wheel drive reduces that to 22/32 mpg respectively. BMW recommends using premium unleaded fuel.

As with any BMW, you’ll find this to be a lively dancing partner, ready for commuting or navigating pokey parkways. The steering is quick and nicely weighted, and the brakes ensure you don’t inadvertently re-sculpt the 430i’s sheet metal. The car feels athletic enough to enjoy on your favorite back road or for the cut-and-thrust of daily driving.

Engineers fine-tuned the suspension and steering to enhance straight line stability for 2018, although only diehards will notice the difference.

The interior is straight from the 3 Series, with which it shares DNA, so expect a premium but not lavish interior. Material quality is pleasing yet restrained in the finest European tradition.


A large flatscreen anchors the center of the instrument panel and features the latest iteration of BMW’s infotainment system, which proves far easier to use than previous iterations – no doubt helped by the larger screen. A large wheel controls it, and is surrounded by shortcut buttons that prove easy to identify by touch.

Better yet, this BMW supports your e-life by supplying two USB ports, a Wi-Fi hotspot that supports up to 10 mobile devices, and an inductive charging tray for wireless charging. Stingily, BMW makes Apple CarPlay optional, not standard.

The front seats proved firm yet comfortable for long stints in the saddle. Legroom is generous in front; rear seat accommodations are best left to parcels and purses. The cabin is satisfyingly quiet with the roof up. With the roof down, wind management was excellent, allowing for conversations at civilized levels.

Is it any wonder that the 2018 BMW 430i Convertible ably plays the part of a grand tourer? Its sublime blend of ride comfort and sporting performance keeps everyone happy, while its intimate cabin feels like a special treat.

Besides, any vehicle that provides a fun driving experience, remarkable handling and a dollop of style with effortless access to sunshine – which is in short supply this time of year – is more than welcome.

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