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BMW 4 Series gets a soft-top option for the 2022 model year

The BMW 4 Series is longer, wider, and taller than its predecessor.

Photo courtesy of BMW, Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

The 2022 BMW 4 Series Convertible will be a combination of the fresh BMW 4 Series, which debuted earlier this year, and a new convertible features.

The biggest change is that the 4 Series Convertible is going soft. The freshly-designed soft-top exterior brings with it a host of benefits including weight reduction (it's 40 percent lighter), improved cargo space (now 9.0 cubic feet, up 1.2 cubic feet from previous-gen model), and a lower center of gravity, which allows for improved handling.

2022 BMW 4 Series Convertible The model comes standard with the controversial 4 Series grille. Photo courtesy of BMW, Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

Its convertible top uses a large panel bow and honeycomb construction to accommodate a flush-fitting glass rear window. Multiple layers of insulation and fabric make up the top, which is available in two colors: Moonlight black and standard black. Moonlight black adds a shimmer to the fabric.

Opening and closing the soft-top can be done while seated in the car or via remote key. It takes 18 seconds to perform open and closing functionality, which can be performed at up to 31 mph.

There is a pass-through rear seat to allow for additional storage options.

Like the rest of the 4 Series lineup, the convertible is longer and wider than the previous-generation model, complete with a longer wheelbase. The 4 Series Convertible is more aerodynamic than its predecessor.

2022 BMW 4 Series Convertible It takes 18 seconds for the convertible's roof to go up or down. Photo courtesy of BMW, Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

It also has the 4 Series's unique face with new grille, standard LED headlights, and sleek blade-like turn signals. At the back are slim taillights and classic BMW minimalism. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard and 19-inchers are available.

The car is available with the M Sport package, which consists of a uniquely styled front bumper with larger air intake openings and a restyled rear bumper with Shadowline inlays. The rear diffuser panel, front air intake trim, side window moldings and lower exterior mirror housings are all finished in high-gloss black. Selecting the optional Shadowline Package delivers a high-gloss black finish to the kidney grille, exhaust tip trim, and black mirror caps.

The 2022 BMW 430i and 430i xDrive Convertibles are powered by a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that achieves 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The 430i gets from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 155 or 130 mph depending on the wheel and tire combination selected.

2022 BMW 4 Series Convertible BMW is making the 4 Series Convertible with a new soft top. Photo courtesy of BMW, Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

BMW is powering the M440i and M440i xDrive Convertible with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine hat produces 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It has the same electronically limited top speed as the 430i but can get off the line and to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds.

Both engines are paired with a stand eight-speed automatic transmission. A mild-hybrid 48-volt system is also standard.

An Adaptive M Suspension and Dynamic Handling package are available.

Power Sport seats and a leather steering wheel are standard. The M Sport Package and M440i Convertible models offer additional soft knee padding on the sides of the center console as well as an M Sport steering wheel and door sill plates with the M logo.

2022 BMW 4 Series Convertible The interior of the model isn't revolutionary. Photo courtesy of BMW, Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

The four-seater has been engineered with convertible-specific noise reduction measures.

The starting MSRP is $53,100 for the new 430i Convertible, $55,100 for the 430i xDrive Convertible, $64,00 for the M440i Convertible and $66,000 for the M440i xDrive Convertible. Pricing does not include the added $995 destination charge.

2022 BMW 4 Series Convertible The car takes most of the body traits of the traditional 4 Series for its design. Photo courtesy of BMW, Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

Rear-wheel drive versions of the model will go on sale in March and all-wheel drive 4 Series Convertibles will arrive at dealerships starting in July 2021.

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Panasonic, Klipsch, and Dolby have teamed up to create a new audio system, Klipsch Premium Audio.

Photo courtesy of Panasonic

Panasonic Automotive Systems of America, Klipsch, and Dolby Atmos Music have teamed up to create a new proof-of-concept that features immersive sound technology named Klipsch Premium Audio.

Each of the parties brings unique assets to the table. Panasonic Automotive has the know-how for vehicle product design while Klipsch specializes in technonlogy-driven sound performance. Dolby has long been a stable of at-home audio systems.

"I have personally participated in bringing to market a range of products which feature Dolby Atmos capability. The sonic realism and envelopment of the listener into the on-screen action for films opens up new dimensions of entertainment," said Mark Casavant, vice president of Brand & Business Development, Klipsch Group, "Working with the audio experts at Panasonic Automotive we have achieved a similar experience for the in-vehicle listener with Dolby Atmos music. The music is more immersive, with additional space clarity, and depth."

Klipsch uses four sound principles to achieve its award-winning sound:

  • High efficiency/low distortion - Klipsch technology is highly efficient, providing more accurate sound with less power and less distortion – resulting in louder, cleaner audio. Klipsch's Law: Efficiency is inversely proportional to distortion.
  • Wide dynamic range - The softest sounds are reproduced with remarkable clarity and the loudest is delivered without harshness or distortion – with the greatest possible range between the softest and loudest sounds.
  • Controlled directivity - Klipsch technology accurately directs sound to the proper locations, which, in turn, creates a more lifelike soundstage without wasting acoustic energy where sound is not needed or desired.
  • Flat frequency response - Audio delivery is without frequency bias – no unnatural highs, miss or lows – reproducing recorded sound as accurately as possible without colorization.

Dolby Atmos sound is designed to go beyond the traditional limits of mono and stereo, placing the listener in an immersive soundscape.

"Panasonic Automotive has built a reputation pushing the boundaries of in-vehicle entertainment," said Tom Dunn, director of Panasonic Global Premium Audio, "Our award-winning automotive audio systems are recognized for creating unforgettable listening experiences based on engineering, artistry and emotion. Market leading innovations are what drive the technical teams at Panasonic and Klipsch, and delivering our first in-vehicle demonstration of Dolby Atmos music reflects our aligned goals and commitment to achieving a higher standard of music enjoyment."

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Sony's team is testing the Vision-S on the streets of Austria.

Photo courtesy of Sony

One year ago Sony surprised the crowds at CES with the Vision -S, a concept vehicle meant to further the discussion on safety, security, and entertainment. The vehicle has moved from concept to prototype, taking to the roads of Europe for testing.

The car has been driving the roads of Austria since December 2020, according to the company, for technical evaluation. Evaluation of what? We're so glad you asked.

If the car is technologically similar to what has presented at CES last year, on-board is Sony's imaging and sensing technologies as well as software regulated using Sony's AI, telecommunication, and cloud technologies.

Sony Vision-S The Sonny Vision S is a working vehicle prototype now. Photo courtesy of Sony

The car, which was built in cooperations with Magna Steyr, features 33 sensors, including CMOS image sensors and time of flight (ToF) sensors within the vehicle. These sensors are designed to detect and recognize people and objects inside and outside the vehicle, and provide "highly advanced driving support."

Each of the two rows of seating in the vehicle features Sony's 360 Reality Audio system. Bose has similar technology built into the Nissan Kicks.

The crossover-lie car's front seats have a panoramic screen in front of them that has the ability to display rich content.

Does this mean that Sony will begin to make cars? The quick answer is no. Sony does not appear itching to get into the car business though the products that result from this testing will likely be available to automakers offering additional competition for components in a fast-paced marketplace where the technology is evolving quickly.

The real winner here could be consumers who will benefit from the stiff completion between suppliers and be on the receiving end of better technology because of it.

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