Well and truly hooked: BMW 420I
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One of the toughest jobs a BMW New Zealand staff member had to do recently was to try and wrestle the key off me of my long-term loan 420i convertible.
I was given the key fob for the convertible in late January, although I was scheduled to pick it up mid-December to drive throughout our summer.
I managed to persuade BMW NZ staffer Paul Sherley
that, as the 420i had a hard foldable roof, it was an ideal autumn convertible, so I should test it during this season, too.
He agreed, poor chap.
Driven was given the $87,000 hard-top convertible as a long-term loan vehicle to gauge what it’s like to drive an open-topper for a substantial period of time, rather than the standard seven-day schedule for test cars.
The four-seater 4 Series convertible is 4638mm long, 1835mm wide and 1384mm high, with headroom of 1025mm for the front passengers and 942mm for rear passengers.
The boot space varies between 220 and 370 litres depending on whether you have the roof off, as a luggage cover limits your space.
The 420i has BMW’s new 2-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine producing 135kW of power and 270Nm of torque, and is paired with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.
Standard features are bi-xenon headlights, reversing cameras, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, pre-collision safety pack, parking sensors, active cruise control with collision warning, auto emergency braking and pedestrian warning plus surround-view cameras.
My model came with sport line features, including high-gloss black vertical kidney grille slats and black exterior mirrors.
There is a black chrome tailpipe and the Sport logo above the air breathers. The sport line also includes a Sport + mode, which boosts agility.
I drove the car extensively throughout summer and early autumn with the roof off, and it became a member of my family.
Come early autumn, Paul rang me to arrange a time to hand back the keys. “Well, I haven't really tested driving it as a coupe, so how about a few more weeks?”
He agreed, poor chap.
I then managed to get a few more weeks in the 420i by saying I needed to test the wind deflector (as pictured). However, by early May, Paul realised he might never get the key back.
So he outsmarted me by first inviting me to BMW NZ’s M Festival track day at Hampton Downs on May 29.
He then suggested I swap the keys of the 420i for another long-term loan; a 330e.
I fell for it.
So, for the last weeks, I made the most of the 420i convertible, driving with the roof off as much as I could and then heading for long road trips with the wind deflector up.
The deflector is stored behind the rear passenger seats and unfolds into an L shape with one section clicked in over the
rear seats, and the other section clicked in behind the front passenger seats. This means the two rear seats can’t be used.
The deflector works well, keeping the front passengers warm and warding off the wind, but personally, I’d just store beanies and scarves in the boot if I owned a 420i convertible.
That way I could still use the rear seats during cooler months.
Those two rear seats fit adults, making it a practical everyday car, especially with the hard roof.
So it was with reluctance that I turned up to BMW NZ’s headquarters to hand the 420i back, and yes, maybe someone had to prise the key fob out of my hand.