An Elite Member of a Crowded Model Family
For close observers of the automobile industry, it is impossible to miss the ongoing “wars-of scale” that will only intensify into the next decade. It is not unrealistic to expect that for a global manufacturer to survive, the production volume should be around five million units.
For luxury car manufacturers like the BMW with about two million units of production, this is a big challenge, even if the profitability of the Bavarian company is flourishing.
To increase the volume while using a common platform, BMW is doing amazingly well. In the last couple of year they created a rich variety of 3-Series, (the backbone of BMW’s model range). The 4-Series, as BMW calls it, is the coupe version of the 3-Series with two-doors. But, you can have a 4-Series Grand Coupe or with four doors. Or you can have 3-Series as Touring, Grand Tourismo and X4, as a crossover, in addition to the traditional sedan. Naturally, this multitude of variants includes a convertible version.
With regard to passenger cars, producing good sports cars is a core competency for BMW. The new model definition splits the 3-Series sedan and coupe into separate lines. Now BMW defines the coupe and convertible as the 4-Series, even though both would still share similar platforms and design. The convertible version that I tested in the cold days of early spring is, without any doubt an all-season vehicle offering the added bonus of sunny-weather show. For one week, I had to opportunity to drive an Alpine White 2015 BMW 435i Cabriolet, with xDrive all-wheel drive and the M-Performance package in Southern Ontario.
More than just a two-door version of the 3-Series, the “Four” has a faster roofline rake with a smaller rear deck, which reduces the look of the rear overhang. To accommodate the power-folding hardtop roof, the convertible has a flatter rear deck. Other than this, the exterior styling of the coup and convertible is practically the same.
Without a fixed roof, as it should be in any modern “topless” vehicle, BMW has a reinforced chassis for safety and stability reasons: A stronger windshield and roll bars to support the weight of the car in the event of a collision while achieving the high-performance people expect from a BMW with the rigidity of a “roofed” car. So, you have the same excellent chassis and suspension leading to the same ride quality and handling as in other BMW’s I drove for several hundred kilometers. You do not have to worry much about the additional weight of 234kg (or 515lb) that was necessary for these reinforcements. The engine is powerful enough to have the same enjoyment with a moderate increase in fuel consumption. In a country where the maximum speed limit is 120 km/h, that is fne.
For the ordinary observer, the 4 Series has the traditional BMW look with the front kidney grille and very similar to the 3-Series sedan. My test vehicle is equipped with the M-Performance package, with 19” lightweight wheels.
Inside, the dashboard and instrument cluster is unsurprisingly BMW designed and built around the driver. The optional Coral Red Dakota leather creates a nice contrast with the exterior colour and black plastics inside. The Executive Package includes an air collar with a vent blowing hot air to your neck. With the main controller in the centre console, it is very easy to open and close the power retractable hard top.
Although I did not have an opportunity to test it, the rear seats are more than space-fillers and accommodate two “not-so-adult” passengers of larger body types at least in short distances.
The rear trunk storage space actually happens to be quite impressive in the 435i Cabriolet. While the roof performs a lot of acrobatics to fit into the rear trunk area, there remains a usable bin running down the centre. You could – in a pinch – fit a weekender bag into there with a little space to spare. The movable divider must be in the lowered position for the hard top to operate.
BMW’s well-known 3.0L inline-six gasoline engine does an excellent job also in this car. It runs smoothly and delivering a low-end torque, and showing its capabilities instantly while accelerating. TwinPower technology, as BMW calls it, has a twin-scroll turbo with direct injection and Valvetronic variable valve lift.
The specs give you 300 horsepower from 5800-6000rpm, and a round 300 lb/ft of torque from 1200-5000rpm. And it simply feels good and powerful in acceleration and daily driving
The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, sourced from supplier ZF, arguably manufacturing the best transmissions available today. Smooth shifts without a power gap or jumps in revs make a difference. BMW’s programming gives you the options as Comfort and Sport+ mode. xDrive all-wheel drive is available regardless of your engine choice.
BMW rates the 435i xDrive Cabriolet at 12.1L/100km in the city, 8.1L/100km on the highway, and 10.3L/100km in a combined cycle. My one-week mixed-mode test drive delivered an average of around 13 liters, which is reasonable considering the very cold days of March.
And I was lucky enough to drive with folded-down hardtop under the sunny sky, even if the temperature was just above zero. It is a pity, it was not summer.
A BMW means a refined automobile for “gourmet” drivers. A convertible version makes the experience more unique and more exciting.
Model: 2015 BMW 435i xDrive Cabriolet
Paint Type: Alpine White
Base /as tested MSRP: $69,100 /79,200
Executive Package ($2,800) includes:
- Air Collar
- High-Beam Assistant
- Driving Assistant
- Surround View
- Head-Up Display
Premium Package ($4,900) includes:
- Alarm System
- Universal Remote Control
- Comfort Access
- Rear View Camera
- Auto Dimming Exterior Mirrors
- Lumbar Support
- Park Distance Control, front and rear
- Adaptive Headlights
- On-Board Navigation
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio Tuner
- Harmann/Kardon Sound System
M Performance Package
- 19″M Light Alloy Wheel, Double Spoke, Bicolour Orbit Gret
- M Sport Brake
- Adaptive M Suspension
- Variable Sport Steering
ConnectedDrive Services Prof with ARTTI Package ($500) includes
- BMW Online
- Advanced Real Time Traffic Information
- Concierge Services
- Remote Services
- BMW ConnectedDrive Services Package
Price as Tested: $79,200
Wheelbase (mm): 2810
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4671 / 1881 / 1624
Curb weight (kg): 1873
Engine: 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six
Horsepower: 241 hp @ 5000-6500 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1450-4800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic with paddle shifters
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD (xDrive)
Suspension-Front: MacPherson struts, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
Suspension-Rear: Multi-link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
Brakes-Front: Ventilated discs
Brakes-Rear: Ventilated discs
Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 11.8 / 8.4 / 10.3
Tires: Goodyear Eagle LS – 245/45R19
Article: Varol McKars
Pictures: Varol McKars, , Burak McKars
Test vehicle was provided by BMW Group Canada
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