What it Is
BMW 3 Series Convertible Preview – 2007 Detroit Auto Show: Flinging a great car down a great road is great fun, even more so when the top is down to heighten the sensation of speed. Few cars on the market today can provide this kind of thrill for a driver and three passengers quite like the BMW 3 Series Convertible. For 2007, the 3 Series Convertible is redesigned, getting a power retractable hardtop for the first time. Two versions with different engines are available: the 328i and 335i.
Why it Matters
Adding a power retractable hardtop to the 2007 BMW 3 Series Convertible improves outward visibility and cabin isolation, helping to make it a better four-season car that can be used year-round. Furthermore, the three-piece metal top deters thieves better than a fabric roof. However, these are strictly practical considerations. This car really matters because it promises to be extremely fun to drive on warm summer nights.
What’s Under the Hood
The BMW 328i Convertible has a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine making 230 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. torque at a low 2,750 rpm. The more expensive BMW 335i Convertible receives a direct injection twin turbo 3.0-liter six with 300 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. torque that peaks between 1,300 and 5,000 rpm. The performance difference is dramatic: the 335i clears 60 mph in about 5.7 seconds. A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with manual shift paddles delivers power to the rear wheels, while an optional active steering system directs the front tires. Stability and traction control systems are standard, as well as several braking features including one that dries the brake pads for maximum stopping power in the rain.
What it Looks Like
Forward of the windshield pillars, the 2007 BMW 3 Series Convertible is identical to the coupe that recently arrived in the U.S. From the front glass back, the convertible is unique. Like the coupe, the convertible employs a tasteful rendering of BMW’s flame surfaced concave and convex design language, fronted by standard bi-xenon headlights with daytime corona rings and capped with LED taillights. BMW says the windshield pillars have been moved forward on the convertible to provide unrestricted sun and wind to front seat occupants. Though not quite as sleek as the coupe, the convertible is nonetheless a looker in its own right.
Special leather with modified pigmentation is a critical innovation inside the redesigned BMW 3 Series Convertible. Especially in darker colors, the leather is designed to reflect infra-red radiation on sunny days, keeping the seats much cooler when the car is parked in the open with the top down. The 3 Series Convertible also gets a new optional iDrive monitor designed to provide greater clarity in bright light, and a revised climate system with a “convertible” mode that regulates temperature based on sun glare and exterior temperature when the top is lowered. Standard side impact airbags protect the head and torso when deployed, while active roll bars pop up from behind the rear seats in a rollover accident.
Weighing 440 pounds more than the coupe, the BMW 3 Series Convertible’s three-piece metal roof lowers in 22 seconds, raises in 23 seconds, and can be controlled remotely via the key fob from within a 13-foot radius. With the roof raised, there’s 12.3 cubic feet of trunk space and with the roof lowered there’s 7.3 cubic feet of room under a protective screen. To expand space, BMW provides a center pass-through and a folding seatback, with optional ski and transport sacks, that can be used top up or down.
What BMW Says
BMW’s press release, translated from German, says: “Stylish elegance meets fascinating performance – in the new BMW 3 Series Convertible this unique combination ensures an equally unique driving experience.”
What We Think
Based on our time with the BMW 335i Coupe, the convertible model should prove to be just as thrilling to drive despite its weight gain. Why? With the top down, every sense is heightened, making up for any loss of outright performance. Now, with the power retractable hardtop, owners can take greater advantage of a 3 Series Convertible all year long.
Photos courtesy of BMW