Sedans & Coupes

2021 BMW 4 Series Goes Back to Basics With Drastic Change

The evolution of the convertible has taken decades, but this year one luxury convertible is reclaiming its original silhouette. BMW is redesigning one of its staple models, and it made waves during the process. The 2021 BMW 4 Series features significant changes, such as a more prominent take on its kidney grille. So far, the 4 Series has received mixed reactions

However, the 4 Series’ latest change seems to have invoked a much warmer reception. BMW announced via a press release the 2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible will harken back to its roots by ditching the hardtop and going with a softer look. 

After being an identifying marker of the 4 Series, it’s finally ditching convenience for timeless style. The 2021 BMW 4 Series is going for a more subtle design, donning a soft-top for the first time. However, the question remains, is BMW sacrificing practicality simply to envoke nostalgia in brand enthusiasts?

A bold new look for the 2021 BMW 4 Series

The 2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible driving on a road with an ocean view
2021 BMW 4 Series cruising on the open road | Photo via BMW

Car buyers will have a choice of two colors for the honeycomb-pattern fabric top. It comes standard in black, but shoppers can opt for the available Moonlight Black, which shimmers in direct sunlight. 

Rear-wheel-drive versions of the 2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible will arrive on dealer lots in March 2021. All-wheel-drive models will go on sale in July 2021. At a starting MSRP of $53,100, the 2021 BMW 430i Convertible won’t be the most affordable convertible you could buy. However, it’ll certainly turn some heads.

Drivers shouldn’t be too inconvenienced by the soft-top substitution. BMW notes that drivers can open and close the soft-top in just 18 seconds while traveling up to 31 MPH. Plus, the fabric of the soft-top closes firmly across, helping the vehicle keep a sleek coupe profile. Meanwhile, it is well insulated to help retain heat in colder climates.

Advantages of a soft-top 

Peugeot first debuted the retractable hardtop in 1934, and the 1957 Ford Skyliner convertible featured the first power-retractable hardtop. However, BMW didn’t release a retractable hardtop convertible until the 2007 3 Series. Now, the 2021 4 Series Convertible signals the end of the hardtop trend for the German automaker. 

Ease of use is undoubtedly an advantage of having a hardtop. However, it comes at a cost. All the equipment needed to make the hardtop function adds significant weight to the vehicle, keeping it from achieving its peak performance. Additionally, these extra parts take up more room in the car’s rear than a soft-top does, cutting down on trunk space.

Consumers will appreciate the increased quickness and versatility of the 2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible. BMW claims the soft-top is 40% lighter than the outgoing hardtop, and the car’s performance numbers seem promising. The 430i rockets from 0-60 MPH in 5.9 seconds while the M440i does the same in five seconds flat. Additionally, the 2021 4 Series Convertible offers an additional nine cubic feet of cargo space more than the 2020 model.

A beautiful beginning for the all-new 4 Series

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Modern isn’t always better. It’s true that the convention of the hardtop provides convenience and displays a futuristic design. However, the 2021 BMW 4 Series’ reintroduction of the soft-top could help purists rekindle a love for the vehicle. A boost to its performance doesn’t hurt either.

After some concern over the direction the 2021 BMW 4 Series is heading, it’s safe to say that buyers will be intrigued by the prospect of harnessing the aesthetic of a soft-top convertible.