ONE of the last cars you'd want to be driving in the icy German Alps with temperatures dropping below -5 °C during spring is a drop-top. Yet, here we are, braving these icy winds in the mildly updated BMW 430i Cabriolet to see if the revised exterior, interior and steering system have had a positive effect.

Unlike the Coupe, the 4 Series Cabriolet does not gain stiffer suspension and revised dampers, as BMW wants to retain the compact-executive cabriolet's more comfortable persona. It also keeps the turbocharged 2,0-litre engine, delivering 185 kW and 350 N.m of torque to the rear wheels by means of an eightspeed automatic transmission.

The updated Cabriolet displays much the same characteristics as the pre-facelift model, which means it feels slightly unsettled on rough roads and unable to fully dampen the extra mass. With the effective seat heating and air collar to combat the chilly climes, driving in the countryside was manageable, but proper winter gear was still essential. Once we reached the icy Alps, though, even that was unable to keep out the cold and the roof had to go back up.

With the steel roof now in place, the car got some welcome rigidity and began to display those driving dynamics the 3 and 4 Series is known for. The revised traction control and ABS make a slight difference to the drive, offering a little more grip (helped further by the winter tyres our press cars were shod with), but it's the reworked steering system that results in the most noticeable difference, making the Cabriolet feel sharper and more responsive. Still, and especially so on the Alpine descents, the drop-top's added mass doesn't do it any favours in this area and its brakes are asked to work a lot harder.

Not that this is meant to be a car to chuck round. Considering the smaller, turbocharged 2,0-litre engine mounted under the bonnet, it's clear the 430i Cabriolet is more comfortable with a sedate pace. While the powerplant gets the 1 810 kg vehicle up to speed relatively easily, it does lack power at the top end of the rev range.

Against its Coupe sibling, the Cabriolet remains a compromised car and the mild visual and software tweaks have done little to convince us otherwise. Unless frequent, relaxed topdown cruising is your thing, we would recommend its hardtopped sibling.