2019 BMW 4 Series Convertible vs. 2018 Chevrolet Camaro

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 4 Series Convertible offers optional City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Camaro doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The 4 Series Convertible offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Camaro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The 4 Series Convertible’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Camaro doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 4 Series Convertible offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Camaro only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the 4 Series Convertible and the Camaro have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

The 4 Series Convertible comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Camaro’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 4 Series Convertible’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Camaro’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4 Series Convertible for 1 year and 12000 miles longer than Chevrolet pays for maintenance for the Camaro (3/36,000 vs. 2/24,000).

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the 4 Series Convertible have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Camaro.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 4 Series Convertible’s reliability 36 points higher than the Camaro.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Convertible first among compact premium cars in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Camaro isn’t in the top three in its category.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 13 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 4 Series Convertible gets better fuel mileage than the Camaro:

4 Series

Camaro

RWD

n/a

20 city/30 hwy

4 cyl. Turbo/Manual

n/a

16 city/28 hwy

V6/Manual

n/a

16 city/25 hwy

V8/Manual

430i/Auto

24 city/34 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

4 cyl. Turbo/Auto

n/a

19 city/29 hwy

V6/Auto

440i/Auto

21 city/29 hwy

17 city/27 hwy

V8/Auto

AWD

430i/Auto

22 city/32 hwy

n/a

440i/Auto

20 city/29 hwy

n/a

Regenerative brakes improve the 4 Series Convertible’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Camaro doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 4 Series Convertible’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Camaro doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW 4 Series Convertible higher (3 to 7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Camaro (1 to 5). This means the 4 Series Convertible produces up to 47 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Camaro every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

The BMW 4 Series Convertible comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Camaro.

All wheel drive, available in the 4 Series Convertible, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Chevrolet Camaro is not available with all wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 4 Series Convertible’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the Camaro:

4 Series

Camaro

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

The 4 Series Convertible’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Camaro LT are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

The 4 Series Convertible’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Camaro’s standard 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the 4 Series Convertible’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Camaro’s (37.1 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

The 4 Series Convertible is 5.6 inches shorter than the Camaro, making the 4 Series Convertible easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

For excellent aerodynamics, the 4 Series Convertible has standard flush composite headlights. The Camaro has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

The 4 Series Convertible’s standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The Camaro doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Passenger Space

The 4 Series Convertible has 5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Camaro Convertible (90 vs. 85).

Cargo Capacity

The 4 Series Convertible has a larger trunk with its top down than the Camaro Convertible (7.8 vs. 7.3 cubic feet). The 4 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top up than the Camaro Convertible (13.1 vs. 7.3 cubic feet).

The 4 Series Convertible’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Camaro Convertible/ZL1 1LE doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 4 Series Convertible’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Camaro doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Chevrolet. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 8% lower rating, Chevrolet is ranked 10th.

Ergonomics

The 4 Series Convertible’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Camaro’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the 4 Series Convertible the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Camaro can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case of a sudden change of weather, the 4 Series Convertible offers an optional remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The Camaro’s top can only be opened by remote, so the driver will have to run to the car, get in, turn the ignition on and raise the top to prevent the interior from being damaged.

The 4 Series Convertible has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Camaro doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The 4 Series Convertible’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Camaro’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 4 Series Convertible to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Camaro doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 4 Series Convertible offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Camaro doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 4 Series Convertible detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Camaro doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 4 Series Convertible offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Camaro doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The 4 Series Convertible’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet charges extra for heated mirrors on the Camaro.

The 4 Series Convertible has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Camaro.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the 4 Series Convertible has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Camaro doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the 4 Series Convertible offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Camaro doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The 4 Series Convertible’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Camaro doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The BMW 4 Series comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the Chevrolet Camaro isn’t available as a four door.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4 Series Convertible is less expensive to operate than the Camaro because it costs $306 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the 4 Series Convertible than the Camaro, including $6 less for a muffler, $59 less for front brake pads, $162 less for fuel injection and $118 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

The 4 Series Convertible was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2014. The Camaro hasn’t been picked since 2013.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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