BMW finally ditches the hardtop

BMW is set to launch an all-new 4-Series two-door sometime in 2019 or 2020, and while the G23 coupe version will not feature any dramatic changes over the current model, the G22 droptop will. Spy shots indicate that for the first time in two generations (E93 and F33), BMW is giving up on the folding hardtop design in favor of the more traditional soft top option which it last used on the E46 model discontinued in 2006.

Heavy camouflage covers the prototype spotted, but this important change is quite evident as the canvas top is left completely bare (quite obviously on purpose). It might be an illusion caused by the camo, but it also appears this new 4-Series has a longer hood and rear decklid compared to its predecessor.

Exterior

2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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Aside from making the soft top intentionally visible, the prototype spotted hides all details very well. It may have slightly different proportions compared to the current model, but it’s too early to tell.

Its front and rear fascias will be more aggressive versions of what the new 3-Series has - its official reveal will take place at next month’s Paris Motor Show.

Once we see the sedan and wagon model, we’ll be able to make more educated guesses as to what the coupe and cabriolet may look like.

One way they could go to differentiate four- and two-door models is to take inspiration from the flagship 8-Series in order to make the latter stand out. BMW is discontinuing the 6-Series nameplate altogether, so it may want the two models to seem more closely related from a visual standpoint (a strategy it could also extend to the next 2-Series).

Interior

2018 BMW 4 Series Coupe High Resolution Interior
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If previous versions of the model are anything to go by, the new 4-Series will have an interior lifted straight from its four-door counterpart.

We can’t specifically say what that entails yet, as all prototypes spotted have had their interiors curtained off.

But realistically, we can expect something very similar to what the automaker already offers in its new X3 and X4 models. The center console buttons and controls, the dials, the infotainment, and the steering wheel will probably be carried over to the 3- and 4-Series.

Drivetrain

2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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Expect the next 4-Series convertible (as well as the coupe and four-door) to offer both gasoline and diesel engines, as well as electrified powertrains - all of which will be shared with the 3-Series with which it shares the CLAR architecture.

Expect it to shed around 100 pounds compared to the current F33 generation, if information on the 3-Series is anything to go by. It should also sit 10 millimeters lower too.

The 4-Series will most likely skip the very bottom of the engine range and be offered mostly with 2.0-liter four-cylinder as well as 3.0-liter six-cylinder mills with turbocharging. Be that as it may, a 1.5-liter three-pot cannot be excluded at this point, as anything is possible.

One of the aforementioned engines is apparently the most powerful four-pot ever fitted to a series BMW (over 260 horsepower), and it could be badged as a 330i M Sport, although M330i has a nicer ring to it.
Hopefully, it will be offered with a manual gearbox option too.

Prices

BWM usually announces pricing for its models in the time frame between their official debut and them reaching showrooms. The current 4-Series starts from just under $53,000 in the U.S., and for that, you get a 430i with rear-wheel drive only.

Competition

Mercedes C-Class

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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Launched in 2016 as the first C-Class-badged drop top ever, the current W205 Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet is a very classy alternative in the segment. It looks like a shrunken S-Class, it has a wide range of available engines, and its interior is unmatched in the segment for its luxury feel.

It too comes with a power-folding soft top, and it looks especially good with it stowed away, although the wind deflector Mercedes gives you to reduce top-down turbulence in the cabin kind of spoils its lines when erected. You can have one from $51,200 before options.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet.

Audi A5

2017 Audi A5 Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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Audi will sell you its A5 Cabriolet starting at $49,600, and for that, you get the best interior in its class in terms of quality, design, and technology (although a well-specced C-Class may still feel more luxurious). From the outside, the A5 is very clean and is really pleasant to behold thanks to its great proportions, and it too looks better with its electric soft top hidden away.

Motivating base versions is a 2.0-liter TFSI, which is normal in this company, but the Audi has standard Quattro all-wheel drive - rivals will have you pay extra for it.

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi A5 Convertible.

Conclusion

2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible Exterior Spyshots
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It’s too early to reach any kind of conclusion on the next 4-Series convertible, but between its new (lighter, more compact, and possibly more stylish) soft top, lighter overall weight, and more focus on providing rewarding handling, there’s little not to like.

If it turns out to look like an 8-Series-inspired foldable roof version of the next 3-Series (with hints of new Z4), then there’s nothing to complain about there either. Inside, it will most likely mirror the design and quality of the excellent X3 and bristle with the latest gadgets - it all sounds pretty good and makes the model a highly anticipated one in its segment.

  • Leave it
    • Could have a three-cylinder
    • May not be offered in M-form

Further reading

2018 BMW 4 Series Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 BMW 4 Series Coupe.

2018 BMW 4 Series Convertible Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the 2018 BMW 4 Series Convertible.

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