Convertibles are few and far between in the auto industry these days, as most families opt for a family van. This can include exceptionally large panoramic sunroofs that actually convey an open-air look and feel when driving. However, there’s nothing like having an honest two-door convertible that takes us from the everyday hustle and bustle of driving to a place we really haven’t been since high school.
Every evening during our time with the new BMW 430i we hopped into the car at around 8:30 a.m., left the garage, put the convertible top down – which was super cool, by the way, how it would automatically fold up the trunk – and drive off for at least an hour as the summer sun sets in the western sky.
Our test week in June was unusually warm this year and therefore more than perfect convertible weather, certainly not too cold. The designers also included extra neck warmers in the front seats ($ 500) for those fall days when the hood can be just a little chilly.
We found it magical to drive around Springville and make different short drives every night, much like what we called “ccrusing” in high school, where everyone went to Spanish Fork and around Main Street going down a very slow pace, turning around at each end and going back the other way.
Back then it seemed like all the guys were having a competition to make the prettiest car roam back and forth on the road, and if you had a convertible it was an even bigger personal bonus to show off your car!
We felt pretty much the same as we did all those years ago, when people honked and waved at us from their courtyards, impressed again by the uniqueness of a convertible that “cruises” through the neighborhood. For at least a week we were taken back in time.
The best news is that since the 1980s when big engines and big carburetors were all the rage, and most importantly how vehicles were measured back then, the new BMW has had a lot of power and loads of technology in it that makes driving it so Pleasure made every day.
This brand new 430i has grown 5.2 inches in length and 1 inch in girth as we believe the designers have given it an even more coupe-like look. The usual kidney-shaped grill now extends to the front bumper cover and is integrated to provide sufficient airflow for all engine cooling needs.
The headlights are narrower and taper towards the grill, which now creates a very clean and minimalistic look to the front. The daytime running lights are unmistakably BMW and are accentuated with a three-leaf design for each of the indicators.
The 430 is powered by a four-cylinder engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger that produces a very rounded 255 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque. If that’s not enough for driving fun, there is of course also a 440 with a six-cylinder engine with the same turbocharger and 382 hp.
In our week of driving in Nirvana, we never felt like we needed more power unless we actually went back to the early 80’s where it would have made a huge difference to have the extra power, at least, when it came to bragging rights.
Our test drive included a few additional additions from BMW’s “M” division, much like the extras James Bond would get from M. The package included the Dynamic Handling Package (USD 2,450), which included M Sport brakes and an M Sport differential.
The M Sport Package ($ 3,800) added variable sport steering. This enabled the convertible to adapt to different steering “modes” if you will, be it at high speed or just making a sharp turn into a parking space.
Inside the BMW was of course loaded with all kinds of technology and driving aids. A completely digital dashboard and infotainment system now surrounds the driver in a BMW. We love the new system and its performance; it was one of the easiest to use in the luxury segment.
With the now integrated BMW Personal Assistant, it was just the words “Hey, BMW” and our assistant was there to help us with any questions or needs. This made setting the climate, getting a navigation waypoint, or setting up the radio easy and straightforward.
The heads-up display ($ 2,300) included in the Premium package is definitely one of the best on the market. It would even include XM channels and whatever was on when we tried to switch radios so we never had to take our eyes off the road.
The only thing we missed was the adaptive cruise control in the 430i. It had blind sports surveillance and front and rear parking assistance which were really handy in tight parking spaces. The convertible is also equipped with a roll bar system that is activated when the vehicle reaches a point where a rollover is inevitable
In a millisecond, two pyrotechnic charges are triggered that eject a roll bar for the driver and front passenger while the vehicle attempts to build a cage for the occupants to protect them if this ever happens.
It was a shame that our time with the BMW 430i Convertible only lasted a week, as we definitely enjoyed every minute in the convertible – and all the attention we received with it.
Craig and Deanne Conover have been testing vehicles for over eight years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. You will receive a new car every week for a week-long test drive and adventure. Both love to have the unique opportunity to try out new cars. You live in Springville.