2015 BMW 435i xDrive Cabriolet

2015 BMW 435i xDrive Cabriolet

It’s never too cold to drop the top.

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Although it may seem like we’re nuts for Road Testing a convertible in the depths of a Canadian winter, it gave us a chance to verify that yes, BMW’s trick folding hardtop on all Cabriolet models will work just fine in ambient temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius. Not many owners will decide to let the underwhelming glare of the winter sun into their cars, but count us among the slightly insane few who’ve tried it. Want another impressive tidbit? The insulation of the top deserves praise not only for the way it dulls road and wind noise but how impervious it is- I was amazed that a bottle of water that had frozen overnight had melted significantly after sitting in the parking lot upon arriving from work an hour prior- the way it held onto the interior heat was remarkable.

If the white exterior/red leather interior combo looks familiar, it is- each version of BMW’s Cabriolet from the 428 all the way up to the fire-breathing M4 has been thusly equipped. Someone in BMW’s press office must have a serious affinity for the combo. If all versions of the Cabriolet looked the same, the badging on the rear decklid says “435i”, which means that BMW’s silken inline six and 8 speed transmission are tapped for motivational duties. The combo could be the aggregate benchmark for smoothness and robust, linear power for the entire industry. What’s new to the party is the availability of BMW’s surefooted xDrive system, an addition that adds a whole bunch of confidence to the proceedings should you decide to use yours all year around.

And you should, because the folding hardtop and astute drivetrain make it quite liveable when the snow flies. You probably won’t be asked to give rides to up to the slopes or help with the weekend Costco run, but other than a few instances the 435i acquits itself to all kind of normal stuff you’d expect of it.

There are some flaws, but none of them are glaring. The styling, which looks sexy and purposeful on the non-Cabriolet coupes, looks a bit awkward here- blame the folding hardtop and the room it takes up when stowed. The “ultimate driving machine” ethos applies here if your ultimate drive means heading to grab a coffee at 10 clicks over the limit. Otherwise, BMW’s sporty DNA isn’t as sharp as it is in their tin-topped versions and those also shopping for say, a Porsche Boxter will find more dynamic rewards for their inner enthusiast. You also cannot row your own gears because a manual won’t be available, and for some the conversation will end right there- but most folks will opt for the autobox anyhow, and it’s beginning to feel weird complaining about a manual gearbox in a car like this, even if it does wear a spinning propeller badge.

When we drove the four cylinder powered version last summer, we came away impressed but longed for a little more poke. The 435i Cabriolet more than addresses that want and seems to be an ideal fit for the car. Plus, you get the nifty Air Collar system to blow toasty gusts at the back of your neck, perfect for those gorgeous -40 Celsius mornings when you want to drop the top.

2015 BMW 435i xDrive Cabriolet — Specifications

  • Price as tested: $79,200
  • Body Type: 2-door, 4 passenger convertible
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
  • Engine:  3.0-litre inline-six turbo, DOHC, 24 valves
  • Horsepower: 300 @ 5,800-6,400 rpm
  • Torque (lbs-ft): 300 @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Curb weight: 1,864 kg (4,109 lbs)
  • Observed Fuel consumption: 11.6L/100km (20 mpg)