- June 2015

Thought Thursday: No roofs, stain free shirts and the BMW M4 Convertible

Winter time in the BMW M4 Convertible

Why do many people find it strange to eat ice-cream in cold weather? I understand ice-cream is generally enjoyed in the hot summer whilst wearing T- shirts and shorts, with beautiful girls wearing colourful dresses and the sounds of Goldfish playing melodic tunes. Sounds like a perfect ice-cream commercial doesn’t it? The part of the commercial they don’t show you is the part where the ice-cream starts melting rapidly down your hand and onto your shirt, making you look like a silly three year old who insisted that he can feed himself. Winter curbs all these problems right away. Firstly, your ice-cream will not rapidly melt by the time it is opened and secondly, if you did manage to mess on your clothes, you could cover it up with a jersey or scarf. “It’s still too cold to eat ice-cream in winter” you may think. Well to be honest, at times this may be true but cold or not, ice-cream tastes great whatever the weather and besides we have heaters and socks don’t we? I have yet to see someone from Durban say, “I can’t eat this curry because it’s too hot”, all they do is crank up the air conditioner and get stuck into that spicy meal.

The same applies to convertible cars, if you’re from the Southern part of Africa, driving one in winter is definitely the better time. You must think I’m mad. “Summer is definitely the best time for a convertible car”, you may be thinking. The scene is in your head already, you’re with your mates , there’s laughter, music and fresh air above you. What about the sun stroke you’re going to get from the 35 degree African sun? Or the rain that will ruin your interior before you can slow down to 20kph to put your roof up? It’s all fun and games until you’re lobster red or Kiwi black begging for some aloe vera gel at your nearest Dischem. Which brings me to my point, with all that accounted for, convertibles make for the perfect Johannesburg or Durban winter cars. Cape Town winters are too temperamental so we won’t include it in this conversation.

I recently spent some time in a very impressive convertible. The sound of a straight six engine producing 317kw of turbocharged power and making funny popping noises as you accelerate or lift off is quite entertaining by itself. This entertainment is further amplified when you don’t have a roof over your head and the sun is at a moderate heat coupled with a cool winter breeze. That was part of my BMW M4 convertible experience, a very exiting one I must say. Having driven the coupe version of the car as well as the sedan M3, I found myself troubled in deciding which one I liked most. They all have different appeals and yet all of them manage to make you smile. I’ve summed it up like this. If you have a family but still long for the feeling of a single mans sports car, buy the M3. If you don’t have a family and you want to impress women by telling them your roof is made from carbon fibre, buy a coupe. If you’re like me and you don’t have a family but want the versatility, get the convertible.

Now to my enthusiast friends, before you moan, yes the car does not feel as dynamically responsive  as the coupe or sedan, but you need ask yourselves a question before jumping on that bandwagon.  Are you a race car driver who spends most of his time at the track? If your answer is yes, I envy you, but if your answer is no then you have no real reason to feel that the convertible is not as capable as the coupe from a dynamic point of view. I think it’s nice to have a hard roof in the summer such as the M4’s, when it’s up I can gladly eat my ice-cream even when it’s hot since I’ll have on the thing that blows cold air into the car. Then come winter time, I can have no roof and still enjoy the sun without the risk of getting skin cancer, the best of both worlds indeed. That’s what you get in the BMW M4 convertible. It feels just as fast, looks even nicer with the roof down and makes funny fart noises when you change gears, what more could you ask for?

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