- TwinPower 3.0-liter inline-six N55 engine | Wider, longer and lower
- Hardtop folds in 20sec at up to 11mph | Air Curtains and Air Breathers aerodynamics
- Standard manual transmission | Eight-speed auto available
- Starts at $54900 | M Sport trim and options available
+ Pros: Hardtop benefits with convertible fun | Three-stage neck warmers | Excellent interior quality | Comfortable cruiser
- Cons: Lacks driver involvement | Almost 500 lb heavier than Coupe
The roof offers an impressive bit of electro-hydraulic ballet, with a handy loading system (similar to the Mercedes-Benz SL) to expand trunk capacity. The downside is that it adds almost 500 lb due to the complex mechanism and body reinforcement. The result is an inevitable sacrifice in the car's handling and acceleration.
Swing open the big doors, climb inside and the familiar BMW visuals emerge, particularly the black-panel instrumentation and centrally located, landscape-oriented nav screen.
Top-up, the 435i Convertible managed the wide-open roads north of Las Vegas with the composure of a luxurious tourer. Coupled with the eight-speed auto, the 3.0L turbo hardly ever felt breathless, especially with its 300 lb-ft starting at a mere 1300rpm and not tapering off until 5000rpm.
There's still BMW's near perfect weight distribution (48:52), and generous front-end bracing to heighten the feeling you're connected to the road. But even with the right pedal pinned, the 435i's acceleration feels silky, rather than explosive, with power transfer seamlessly mitigated by the transmission.
Hanging on to the manual may be a grand gesture of counter-trending, but it helps old school BMW clientele feel in the loop, even though the worrying trend du jour is to ditch the third pedal...
Those hungry for spine-tingling handling might wait for the inevitable 2 Series ragtop, which - if the Coupe version is any indication - should deliver on BMW's promise of driver interactivity and seat-of-the-pants satisfaction. Until then, the 435i Convertible offers a more mature and civilized way to soak up the sun. It may not be a visceral triumph, but its thoughtfully engineered design details suggest this BMW has simply been recalibrated for a more sophisticated group of sun worshippers.
2014 BMW 435i Convertible
2979cc inline six-cylinder 24v with variable-geometry turbo, direct injection
six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission with available Sport function
four-piston floating calipers, 13.4" rotors f, two-piston, 13" r
aluminum double-joint MacPherson strut f, five-link axle r
Wheels & Tires
17x7.5" wheels, 225/50 R17 tires
300hp at 5800rpm
300 lb-ft at 1200-5000rpm
$54900 (+$925 D&H)