2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible has a new soft-top roof

The 2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible is arriving with a new fabric roof. Replacing the cumbersome folding hardtop of the outgoing 4 Series Convertible, the new soft-top roof is 40-percent lighter and folds in 18 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

Sure, a folding hardtop ensures better protection against harsh weather elements, but BMW insists its new soft top is good enough for all-weather driving. The roof benefits from a honeycomb-design construction with large panel bow elements, several layers of insulation, and a glass rear window – yes, none of that plastic window nonsense that cracks, fades, and discolors as the car ages.

The fabric roof is available in two colors: Black and an optional Moonlight Black metallic fabric that, according to BMW, has a classy shimmer especially in direct sunlight. Having a soft top also benefits headroom, as BMW claims the 4 Series Convertible has an extra 0.2-inches of headroom over the outgoing hardtop version.

Also, trunk space is at a slight premium, which now expands to 9.0 cubic feet (an increase of 1.2 cubic feet over the hardtop) with the roof up. And to ensure some peace and quiet from the wind, the 4 Series Convertible has a standard wind deflector with a pair of mesh elements to significantly reduce buffeting when cruising with the roof down.

In terms of size, the new 4 Series Convertible is 5.2-inches longer, 1.0-inch wider, and 0.1-inch higher than the old model. It also has a wider front track and a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase. Front and center is BMW's redesigned kidney grille similar to the 4 Series Coupe, while the rear is adorned by slim L-shaped LED taillights with darkened lenses. The available M Sport Package includes a new front bumper with larger air intakes and high-gloss trim elements.

The 2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible is available with either a turbocharged four-banger or blown inline-six motor. The 430i and 430i xDrive Convertible has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder TwinPower engine producing 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. With this engine, the 4 Series Convertible scoots to 60 mph in 5.9-seconds and achieves a top speed of 130-150 mph depending on the wheel and tire combo.

Meanwhile, the M440i and M440i xDrive Convertible has a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbocharged motor with 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, along with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. BMW claims a zero to 60 mph run of 5.0-seconds and a top speed of 130-155 mph with the larger engine. It's not as fast or as powerful as the BMW M4, but it's close.

Both variants receive an 8-speed automatic gearbox with launch control and a new Sprint function. The latter will automatically engage the Sport driving mode while pulling on the left paddle shifter, all while the gearbox shifts to the lowest possible gear to deliver maximum acceleration.

Inside, the 2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible is as loaded as the 4 Series Coupe. It comes standard with an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 5.1-inch display in the instrument gauge, both of which are powered by BMW's iDrive 7 with standard BMW Maps and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant (BMW's Live Cockpit Professional with a 12.3-inch digital instrument console and a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen is optional).

Standard equipment on the 430i and 430i xDrive includes 18-inch wheels, a sports leather steering wheel, a rear-view camera, LED headlights, automatic cruise control, and automatic high beams. The M440i and M440i xDrive adds M Sport brakes with blue calipers, an M Sport differential, variable sport steering, a rear spoiler, and an aerodynamic exterior body kit including BMW's Shadowline exterior trim.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the board, while both variants also receive a plethora of advanced driving aids including lane departure warning, frontal collision alert, automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot detection.

The 2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible arrives in March 2021 for RWD models while xDrive AWD variants will land in July next year. Pricing starts at $53,100 for the 430i and $55,100 for the 430i xDrive Convertible. The M440i Convertible starts at $64,000 while the M440i XDrive is at $66,000 (add $995 destination fee).