The E90 BMW 3-Series Convertible replaced the long-lived E46 model with an all new folding metal roof. The sophisticated 3-piece mechanism is one of the largest folding hardtops we have seen and as you can expect from BMW, it works with effortless silence. Visibility is improved by the larger windows of the new car and interior comfort is increased by special sun-reflective leather. The BMW 3 Series range has increased since the launch to include an excellent selection of diesel options. The 320i is the entry level car offering great fuel economy and enthusiastic performance making it the most popular car in the range. The chassis is taut and begs for more power, however so if you can find the extra funds the six cylinder of the 325i unleashes all that potential.
The BMW 320i Convertible is an impressive car despite being the entry-level model. The engine is smooth and refined. It produces a good compromise between performance and efficiency but lacks the BMW trademark 6 cylinder sound.
The BMW 325i Convertible is the first step on the ladder of six cylinder engines. The performance gains are noticeable over the four cylinder 320i, afterall this is a 3 litre car despite what the badge suggests. It is also beautifully smooth, responsive and a real pleasure to drive.
BMWs Efficient Dynamics programme has resulted in some truly amazing engines. The 3 litre straight six if the 330i Convertible is no exception. Fuel economy is equal to the 318i of the previous generation while power is also increased. The latest car has a new level of sophistication and feels bigger and more mature.
A deeply capable car, the BMW 335i Convertible is close to the M3 in terms of performance without 'look at me!' styling or the painful price tag. It's the mature choice for those who don't need to draw attention to themselves. Those who like toys can choose the 7 speed DCT paddle-shift gearbox and M Sport trim while knowing that next to the M3 they got something of a bargain.
The BMW 320d Convertible is the most efficient cabriolet in the 3 Series range and while it is still no slouch it doesn't have the silky smooth six cylinder engine of the 325d and 330d. Noise is not intrusive however and the 320d convertible makes the most financial sense in terms of purchase price and fuel economy.
To some the BMW 325d Convertible is close to perfect, to others it will always be a compromise. Fuel efficiency is impressive but beaten by the 320d while performance is smooth and quick but without the excitement of the 330d. Despite this it holds the middle ground well making it the best choice for many.
Diesel powered convertibles were unheard of only a few years ago but silky smooth engines like BMWs 3 litre straight six have combined efficiency with performance. It doesn't sound quite as pleasing as the petrol alternative but it's not at all offensive even with the roof down. Most impressive of all, this car actually uses a little less fuel than the lower powered 325d.