Make / Model Search

Car reviews - BMW - 3 Series - Convertible range

Our Opinion

We like
Fast-opening steel roof, remote roof control, body stiffness, ride and handling, visibility, one-touch auto opening for all four windows, power and response of twin-turbo engine, rear-seat headroom
Room for improvement
Interior resonance with the roof up, low-speed auto transmission response in 325i

10 Apr 2007

DESIGNING a convertible must be one of the most daunting jobs in the automotive world. Getting it to look good is the easy part trying to keep it from flexing all over the road must sometimes drive the engineers to despair.

To BMW Australia’s credit, it chose some of the more demanding hinterland roads of northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland for the local press launch of the new fourth-generation 3 Series Convertible, but its confidence was well-founded.

Even over these winding, undulating and often bumpy roads – the sort of roads that would have rattled a Saab 9-3 convertible to pieces – the latest version of the country’s top-selling luxury convertible was in its element, lapping it all up with the sort of dynamic poise you might expect of a car with a roof.

There was virtually no scuttle shake at all and even the most savage of mid-corner bumps would provoke little more than a flutter through the steering wheel. Most coupes would aspire to such structural integrity, let alone a bath on wheels.

The so-called 3CC – it now has a folding steel roof instead of the previous fabric set-up, making it more of a coupe-convertible – arrives at a premium of about $12,000 over the equivalent coupe models. It would be all too easy to say that’s a lot to spend to have the roof removed, but (even ignoring the tax component) this is no simple chop job.

BMW’s designers and engineers have not only managed to produce a dynamically satisfying convertible – no mean feat by itself – but have provided numerous neat touches that would make living with the 3CC a pleasure.

The three-section roof not only folds away in just 22 seconds, either from inside the car or by remote control within eight metres, but it tucks away impressively into the top level of the boot. Even with the roof down, you can accommodate a set of golf clubs, thanks to a wide trunk-through facility in the back seat.

The roof can also be folded back half-way, allowing unhindered access to the boot.

Another neat feature is that the rear seat back folds down so you can put bags and other cargo in the back without sweating over what it is doing to your superb leather upholstery.

Of course, there is also a pair of built-in roll bars tucked away behind the rear seats that are instantly deployed in the event of a roll-over, not to mention seat-integrated side airbags to protect the front occupants’ heads even when the roof is down.

The only negative we found is the amount of ‘booming’ you get when the roof is in place, which does not exist in the 3 Series sedan, for example. Caused by air pressure, we found this resonance to be a little uncomfortable.

In terms of specifications and equipment levels, the two Convertible models are identical to their Coupe siblings.

The entry-level 325i Convertible ($94,900), with its smooth 160kW/250Nm six-cylinder ‘atmo’ engine, is a magnificently lithe and well-balanced machine that belies the extra 200kg over the Coupe.

It feels light, yet solid, with a superb inherent balance that makes driving a pleasure. Apart from a slightly lazy low-speed kick-down from the six-speed automatic (add $2600), the 325i provided an utterly enjoyable and comfortable driving experience.

If performance is what you are after, the 3.0-litre twin-turbo 335i Convertible – $121,500, with the addition of bigger wheels, adaptive headlights, parking sensors, sport seats with lumbar support, top-level SatNav and upgraded sound – provides that in spades.

But not even the demands of taming some 225kW of power and a chassis-twisting 400Nm of torque can unsettle this car – the 335i simply roars through the most demanding roads looking for the next corner to consume.

Both the power and response of the twin-turbo engine are superb and, as with the 325i, the steering makes you feel connected to the road while the brakes are rock-solid.

BMW has certainly raised the stakes in the luxury drop-top segment.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new 3 Series

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

3 Series pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here