The BMW 430i Convertible offers classically conventional styling in the best BMW tradition. (Fabian Kirchbauer/BMW/TNS)
2018 BMW 430i delivers sunshine, good times
By LARRY PRINTZ
Tribune News Service
The BMW 430i Convertible interior.
Disillusion is a constant in life, like an ever-present pigeon waiting for you to drive out of the car wash.
No doubt you've bought something online from a company that analyzed everything you did and sold your data along with that of many other shoppers.
The company makes millions. You get a credit card bill.
Or you look forward to lower costs under government-run health care, only to find your insurance premiums skyrocketing.
Trust, it seems, is hard to come by. That's why you don't leave your car door unlocked.
After all, if we truly trusted each other, cars wouldn't have locks.
Of course, such things don't bother convertible owners; all you need to break into their cars is a pocketknife. Truly, they have a higher level of trust than most of us.
Perhaps this is why the retractable hardtop seems the ideal solution for a disillusioned world.
True, even retractable hardtops come with issues. They're bulky, meaning it takes a lot of space to stow them, markedly reducing trunk space.
They add a serious amount of weight, an anathema to driving enthusiasts.
And there seems to be a limit to how these roofs' sheet metal can be shaped while also being retractable, meaning that most retractable hardtops lack the sporting grace possessed by their soft-top brethren.
Today's subject, the BMW 430i Convertible, looks ungainly compared to its coupe sibling, but fresh air access comes with compromises. With classically conventional styling in the best BMW tradition, the 430i appears to be more the quiet conservative than loudmouth radical.
Nevertheless, the 430i gets much better looking once the lid is lowered. Stowing the 430i's roof doesn't take long, although it seems to take longer than you'd like, as if the mechanisms have arthritis.
However, it's an ingenious solution in a world where strangers can't seem to be trusted.
But with the top down, a modest trunk turns meager. So if you're traveling, or heading to Costco, pack light.
Or lower the rear seatback, which transforms the legroom-deprived rear seat into a more appropriate storage hold.
Once underway, you'll find wind management to be excellent, meaning that you can hold a conversation without screaming to be heard by your fellow passengers.
For BMW enthusiasts, performance matters more than trunk space, so let's look at the numbers.
The BMW 4 Series comes as the turbocharged four-cylinder-powered 430i or six-cylinder-powered 440i, with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
The 430i is rated at 248 horsepower, while the 440i comes with 320 horsepower. Both engines mate to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Opting for the former engine propels the car to 60 mph in 6 seconds; opting for the later reduces that to 5.1 seconds. (There's also a high-performance M4 Convertible, with a variety of performance enhancements, but that's a different review.)
Certainly, the 430i that I tested never felt underpowered, with minimal turbo lag and lots of power for passing at speed.
An added benefit is its fuel economy, which measured a respectable 27 mpg.
That's very good given the amount of time spent with the roof down, which hurts aerodynamics, and thus fuel economy.
For the record, the EPA rates the 430i at 24 mpg city, 34 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive. Adding all-wheel drive reduces that to 22/32 mpg respectively. BMW recommends using premium unleaded fuel.
As with any BMW, you'll find this to be a lively dancing partner, ready for commuting or navigating pokey parkways.
The steering is quick and nicely weighted, and the brakes ensure you don't inadvertently re-sculpt the 430i's sheet metal.
The car feels athletic enough to enjoy on your favorite back road or for the cut-and-thrust of daily driving. Engineers fine-tuned the suspension and steering to enhance straight line stability for 2018, although only diehards will notice the difference.