2021 BMW 430i Convertible review: Be a lifelong convert

BMW 4 Series Convertible Singapore price

The new BMW 4 Series Convertible’s roof is soft but not saggy. That’s just one of many improvements to the open-top four-seater.

SINGAPORE — You’d think the BMW 4 Series Convertible would automatically make it to the top of anyone’s list if they have a thing for two-door BMWs, plus a thing for open top cars. But hang on a sec, because the 4 Series isn’t the only game in town there.

In the world of convertible BMWs there’s the 8 Series (more glam, but twice the money, alas), the 2 Series (wonderful, but about to be replaced) and, if you want to count roadsters, the Z4 (also wonderful, but only two seats).

Guess the 4 Series has its place after all, since it offers four seats, is at the very start of its life cycle and you don’t have to run a hedge fund to be able to afford one.

Singapore has two versions for now, and this is the toppermost of the poppermost, the 430i M Sport Pro. If you’re shopping for a four-seater cabrio and this is on your list, ten bucks says what you really want to know boils down to three simple questions: is it fun to drive? Is it terrible to live with? Will my friends envy me if I buy one? The answers are yes, no and maybe. You’re welcome.

Find out more than you ever wanted to know (really) about the 4 Series Convertible’s roof

But if you want a deep dive into the car itself, then there’s one natural place to start. Given that style and glamour tend to rank high on the list of reasons people buy open top cars, the 4 Series Convertible’s looks are worth a bit of discussion.

It’s longer and wider than the last 4 Series Convertible (by 128mm and 27mm respectively), so it’s got a bit more presence on the road, not to mention a bit more rear legroom, courtesy of a 41mm stretch to the wheelbase.

More important than the actual dimensions are the proportions of the thing, which are pretty much spot on. There’s a nice rear deck that’s sized just right, broad flanks and a short front overhang, all of which lend the 4 Series Convertible (and the Coupe too, come to think of it) a tidy stance with some visible tension, like a car at once both planted and ready to pounce.

But there’s that grille, that tall vertical grille, which you’re either going to love or hate. The slim LED headlights only seem to emphasise how large this car’s nostrils are, and the bad news is the grille is impossible to miss. The good news is, the grille is impossible to miss.

BMW says this is a car for extroverts, so the in-your-face styling makes sense, and maybe how drawn you are to the new 4 Series is effectively a personality test.

No cop-outs here: I didn’t like the vertical grille in photos, warmed to it when I first laid eyes on the actual car, and now I vacillate back and forth. I think it works better with dark trim (or BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line, which is standard in Singapore cars) together with a dark colour, since that combination downplays the size somewhat.

As for the interior, the dashboard is pulled straight from a contemporary 3 Series, so it’s not nearly going to be as divisive, but it isn’t particularly distinctive, either.

With that out of the way, the next thing to ponder is the roof. The last 4 Series Convertible (which was also the first 4 Series Convertible, come to think of it) had a folding metal roof, so you might think this new car’s rag top is a backward step. But you’d be completely wrong.

Part 2 — Why the soft top makes sense, and how it affects the way this thing drives

about the author

Leow Julen
CarBuyer's managing editor is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 26 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.