When it comes to hardtop convertibles with four seats, your only choice is the 4-series Cabriolet.
Summer time is always precious when you live in a climate that truly has all four seasons. Hot, sunny days are the most valuable of all when you want to cruise around town with the roof open. Sometimes it’s just not practical to have a dedicated fast summer car, and another car that can handle any weather conditions you throw at it. If you have a 2019 BMW 440i xDrive Cabriolet in your driveway there’s no need to be torn; this is a car that does it all.
Watching the roof collapse on a BMW Cabriolet is a mesmerizing event. The roof splits into three sections, the hatch opens up and all of the pieces move and fold in a choreographed movement that should come with an orchestral soundtrack. Approximate time needed to collapse the roof is 20 seconds, which is about twice that of some soft-tops currently on the market, but it’s well worth the wait.
Trunk space in the 440i Cabriolet is a bit of a different animal than with a soft top. There is a hard shelf in the trunk that outlines the available trunk space for top-down driving. You can lift the shelf up and use the entire trunk space, but the roof will not begin to collapse until that shelf is in the lower position and nothing occupies the space above or to the sides of it. On the flip side, actuating the buttons on the trunk lid will lift up the hatch and rear roof assembly so that you have a larger trunk opening to get something into the trunk, and then collapse it all back down.
Interior fit and finish is very good, as can be expected of German engineering, and the Merino Leather seats and surfaces look and smell wonderful, making the car feel as expensive as it is. The iDrive infotainment system is writhe with too many features and screens to mention here. It can take several minutes to configure the car just the way you want it, but that configuration can be saved for up to three regular drives as well as set into a ‘Guest Driver’ mode. BMW ConnectedDrive offers even more capabilities, offering a wide variety of apps and connected services to be installed in the vehicle, and allows driver settings to be backed up and transferred between cars via USB key.
Starting with a Base MSRP of $72,700, this test vehicle quickly stacked up options to a larger price tag. Starting with the Premium Package Enhanced (lots of electronic features, including the Air Collar, parking and camera assists, HUD, Digital Instrument Display, Harman Kardon sound system, BMW ConnectedDrive Services) for $6500. Next up on the list are the M Performance Package I and II, which come with 19” upgraded wheels, M Sport Brakes, Adaptive M suspension, Variable Sport Steering (package 1, $1,900) and M Performance Exhaust and M Power Kit (Package II, $2,900). Standalone options selected as well are Extended Marino Leather ($1,990), Merino Leather Dash and Door Trim ($750), Adaptive Full LED Headlights ($1,500), Tazanite Blue Metallic Paint ($1,450 option), Wireless Charging with Extended Bluetooth and USB ($350) which brings the sticker price to a whopping $90,040.
There are three major features that make this Bavarian wonder a jack-of-all-trades daily driver: the convertible hard top, xDrive all-wheel-drive, and a wicked powertrain. Under the hood of the 440i is a TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine. That double-spooled engine is rated for a healthy 320 horsepower at 5500rpm and constant torque of 330 lb-ft. from 1390 to 5000RPM, which is a bump up of 72hp and 72 lb-ft over the 430i. But wait, there’s more! When equipped with the M Power Kit (included in M Performance Package II) horsepower gets bumped up another 35 horsepower and 39 lb-ft. of torque for a total of 355hp and 369 lb-ft.
All of this power gets run through an excellent and smooth shifting ZF eight-speed automatic transmission that can be controlled by a set of paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. You can downshift on a whim and hear the howl of the M Performance Exhaust whenever you like. Delivering power to all four wheels is an effortless affair for the xDrive system, as mashing the pedal to the floor propels the Cabriolet from 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds without any tire squeal.
The 440i thirsts for premium fuel and is rated at 11.9L/100km city, 8.1L/100km highway and a combined 10.2L/100km. That is, if you can keep your hands off the paddles for extended periods of time, and leave the car in the appropriate gear. Those fuel economy numbers are only marginally worse than the 248hp engine found in the 430i (10.5/7.4/9.1 respectively), so if you can afford to pony up some extra cash for the bigger engine, it is well worth it.
Road manners are very much BMW: smooth, controlled and engineered, and the xDrive system keeps the wheels glued to the ground. Acceleration is strong and persistent, thanks to the constant torque provided by the twin turbos and the eight-speed transmission always keeping the RPMs at the right spot. Steering input is light and easy when driving around in normal mode, but vehicles equipped with the M Performance Package get Variable Sport Steering to tighten things up for spirited driving by reducing steering wheel travel by 25%. On a beautiful day with the top down on back country roads, however, none of that really matters.
When it comes to hard top convertibles with four seats, your only choice is the 2019 BMW 440i xDrive Cabriolet. However, buyers in this segment should really be cross shopping with other premium convertibles such as the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet and Audi S5, which are both equipped with cloth convertible roofs that is well insulated against cold winter days, and all-wheel-drive to get you where you’re going no matter what the road conditions are.
With an as-tested price tag slightly north of $90,000 this specific vehicle might be hard to justify spending that kind of coin over several other options out there. By eschewing some of the less necessary options though, the 2019 440i xDrive Cabriolet starts to look pretty good. Once you sit inside the gorgeous cabin and feel the wind in your hair, with the creamy smooth motor thrusting you down the highway, you might just be asking ‘where do I sign?’.