Used BMW 3-Series Convertible (2007 - 2013) Driving & Performance

Review by David Ross on
Last Updated: 25 Jan 2010
4.5
The 3-Series Convertible is undoubtedly one of the most desirable models in the BMW line-up. It combines effortless elegance with everyday practicality and an exciting drive - in fact it is one of the finest drop-tops on sale today.

4.5 out of 5

Performance

The basic petrol engine is the 320i - the only four-cylinder petrol in the line-up. It's smooth and quiet but enjoyable to drive with a 0-60mph time of 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 142mph. The 325i brings the 0-62mph time down to 7.4 seconds and the top speed up to 152mph and is one of the best engines in the line-up. It sounds delightful and has a responsive and sporty nature, yet still manages to deliver 37mpg.

The 330i actually uses the same 3.0-litre engine as the 325i, but tuned to deliver 272bhp and significantly more pulling power. However even this can't match the superb 335i engine. This is also a (different) 3.0-litre unit but uses twin turbochargers to produce 306bhp and oodles of in-gear pace - as a result it is an absolute delight to drive with endless acceleration and instance throttle response.

A 0-62mph time of just 5.8 seconds ensures it's only half a second slower than the immense M3 but it still capable of 28mpg. There are three diesels on offer with the entry-level 320d model capable of 53mpg. The 325d and 330d actually use the same 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine, but with differing power outputs of 197bhp and 231bhp respectively.

The latter is certainly rapid enough for most with a 0-62mph time of 7.0 seconds while huge amounts of grunt make it sublime on the motorway and when it comes to overtaking.

4.5 out of 5

Handling

The 3-Series Convertible ticks all the right boxes when it comes to driving pleasure, despite weighing 200kg more than the coupe due to the integration of the folding roof mechanism. It's surefooted, corners with little roll and is at it's best on B-roads, where it changes direction with composure and precision. The steering is exemplary - it's sharp, accurate and well weighted - and the brakes are responsive.

As is common with other BMWs, the ride has a firm and sporty feel to it, however, it still remains surprisingly comfortable for longer journeys.