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Future models - BMW - 3 Series - Convertible

First Look: BMW 3 Series goes hardtop

Open air fun: The hard-top roof folds away in 21 seconds.

The 3 Series convertible ditches its folding fabric roof

2 Jan 2007

BMW will unveil its new 3 Series convertible at the Brisbane motor show next month, within weeks of its Detroit show debut in North America.

The car gets its global unveiling on January 7 at the North American International Auto Show.

With North American being swamped with the key global industry players and media for the big annual event, it is the ideal venue for BMW to pull the covers of what it hopes will be one of the stars of the show.

Based on the 3 Series coupe, the convertible features a folding metal hardtop – a first for the small Bimmer – to maintain the sleek proportions of the new-generation 3 Series design.

The newcomer has a low and smooth shoulder line with flush-fitting electric hardtop roof that folds neatly behind the rear seats. According to BMW it is also the world’s first car to be offered with “sun-reflective” seat cooling leather in some markets.

Special pigments embedded into the leather help reflect infra-red radiation, ensuring treated areas that are exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period can remain up to 20 degrees cooler compared to untreated leather.

It takes just 22 seconds for the fully-lined retractable hardtop to unfold itself from behind the rear seats. The three-piece lightweight steel roof provides good sound insulation and large windows for excellent visibility.

Because the roof has a larger rear glass windscreen and side windows, visibility has improved by 38 per cent compared to the outgoing convertible.

Opening the roof takes 21 seconds and once stowed, the boot still has 210 litres of luggage space.

14 center imageLeft: The 3 Series convertible.

In addition, the rear section of the seat backs fold flat allowing a through-loading system that means bulkier items can be carried.

As with other 3 Series variants, BMW has aimed to deliver a positive and dynamic driving experience.

Under the skin, it will be powered initially by two powerful six cylinder engines.

With a body stiffer than the previous, and very popular convertible, the new model comes with a choice of 160kW 325i straight six magnesium-aluminium engine, or the new top of the range all-aluminium Twin Turbo 225kW engine in the 335i.

The convertible goes on sale in Europe in March – the same time as the launch of the new X5 - and arrives Down Under around April.

Although Australian specification and pricing details are yet to be announced buyers can expect the entry manual 325i to be around $95,000 with the six-speed automatic 335i around $125,000.

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