a bit belated but the wife and i rented a bmw 430 convertible for a day of cruisin around recently and wanted to share some thoughts.

bougie factor: 3.5 of 4 masters tickets

she looks pretty, even though its the same boring black that everyone who leases a bmw seems to get. still, it feels solid like a german engineered car should, and the little touches like the nav, automatic rain sensing wipers, fancy convertible hardtop and such make it feel like the perfect fancy but not toooo fancy toy.

driving factor: 3 of 4 nurburgrings

after i found out that i could combine sport chassis settings with comfort throttle settings, it was a really nice blend of taut but not too anxious on those scenic tennessee back roads. the transmission was pretty good about knowing what gear i wanted to be in, if perhaps a bit too eager to get to the highest gear possible. (i know, i know, sport throttle setting!, except that when you’d want to cruise at anything above 40 mph it feels like you’re driving around a honda fit turning 3k at 60 and i do wish that said sports throttle setting would you know, just hold onto lower gears longer instead of getting rid of gears 6, 7 and 8.. but i digress..)

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my one gripe was the engine, the standard 4 banger turbo that seems to power 80% of all modern bmw’s was perfectly fine on getting a decent amount of power when i needed it, and not terribly bad on turbo lag, though that was certainly was noticeable as well. the engine’s real downside was this overwhelming feeling coming everywhere from the exhaust note squeezed through those turbos to the general slight buzziness of the engine at load that while it was efficiently and germanically carrying out your wishes from the go-pedal that perhaps it felt a little ‘john kelly’ like while doing it - job gets done, guy seems grumpy.

utility factor: 2 of 4 leathermans

having a hardtop that can greatly reduce wind noise when you can’t have the top down is awesome. having one that can completely go up or down in a matter of like 20 seconds, also awesome. the little reduced trunk mini-area where you can actually store belongings if youre trying to not have it get in the way of the stowed top though.. that was a little small and less awesome. i suppose the small useable area comes with the territory on hardtop convertibles and unlike the miata, boxter and such, there is a set of useable back seats that can accommodate your junk that dont fit in the trunk.

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the other minor issue is that while there’s this neat insert that clips into mounting points at the backseat area and greatly reduces wind noise when the top is down, it also prevents you from storing people, dogs or groceries in that back seat, thereby affecting the utility of the thing... but hey.. can’t win em all, right?

fun factor: 3.5 of 4 vegas weekends

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smiles on the face all through these. don’t need to say much more.

summary

to quote one of my favorite motion picture characters: ‘if you have the means, i highly recommend picking one up’. is it perfect? certainly not. is it cheap? no, but usually things from merkel-land don’t tend to be. but that all aside, i would defnitely put this on the list of things that i’d probably actually get if i had the cash to do it. (though perhaps if i had even more cash i’d spring for the 440 and its extra pair of cylinders... hmm!)