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4th Generation BMW 3 Series Convertible
Sun-Reflective leather world premiere
Under BMW's first retractable hard-top 

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: front-side view, open roof.

Special pigments in the leather reflect infra-red radiation.

APN,
14 November 2006.

As usual with BMW's new model launches, the all-new 3 Series Convertible will not simply join the competition in the premium midsize sports cars segment.

This time, the Bavarian luxury brand reserved for its fourth-generation 3 Series Convertible - called cabriolet in some markets - some exclusive innovations which will be shown when the new cabriolet makes its world debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit on January 7th, 2007, before its market launch this spring.

2007 BMW 3 Series convertible

Model

Cyl.

cm3

HP

Nm

0-100
km/h

Speed
km/h

litres/a
100km

320i

4 inline

1995

170

210

9.2 sec.

219

6.69

325i

6 inline

2996

218

270

7.6 sec.

245

7.89

328i

6 inline

2996

230

271

6.7b

241

-

330i

6 inline

2996

272

320

6.7 sec.

250c

8.09

335i

6 inline

2979

306

400

5.8 sec.

250c

9.91

330d

6 inline

2993

231

500

7.1 sec.

245

6.91

  The 328i is for the U.S. market. Preliminary figures from BMW AG.
 
a- Combined consumption. b- U.S. market, 0-60mph/sec. c- Electronically limited

 

Following three previous  BMW 3 Series Convertible generations (1987, 1994 and 2000), and just a few months after the launch of the all-new BMW 3 Series Coupé, BMW’s new open-top will be initially available in 325i and 335i guises (328i and 335i in the U.S.), but followed closely by smaller engine options and a diesel-powered model.

Moreover, the all-new 3 Series Convertible will feature the first electronically operated folding hard-top roof offered by BMW, and the world’s first car to be offered with SunReflective seat cooling leather.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: rear-side view, open roof.

The first electronically operated folding hard-top roof offered by BMW.

The new 3 Series convertible comes now with a 3-piece electronically-operated retractable hard-top. BMW says its new roof is not introduced only for added security, but also for better visibility and a greater feeling of space and light for occupants, since the roof features a larger rear glass windscreen and side windows.

Compared to the previous generation 3 Series Convertible, the rear side windows are now 30 percent larger and visibility to the rear has been improved by no less than 38 percent. The rear window is fixed glass with an electric rear defroster for safety and convenience.

The roof opens in just 22 seconds and closes in 23 seconds. The electro-hydraulic, three-piece lightweight-steel roof opens automatically in a flowing motion as each lid element rests above the other for a compact package.

The rear lid of the Convertible opens rearward and once the roof has been completely opened or closed and the hardtop is locked, the driver is able to open the trunk-lid in the usual way. The rear lid also comes with a soft-close feature that draws the lid down gently and automatically.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: rear-side view, closed roof.

350 litres of storage with the roof up, and 210 litres with the open top.

The roof and luggage compartments are separated from one another by a swivelling variable partition. When the roof is closed, it provides maximum luggage capacity. 

With the roof up, there is 350 litres of storage capacity, while with the roof down, the boot can accommodate up to 210 litres of luggage.

Another convenient feature is that the roof can open by remote control when equipped with Comfort Access. Like the roof control switch within the interior, the remote control button must be kept pressed down for safety during the entire opening process as movement of the roof elements will be interrupted whenever the button is released.

Interior - Over the previous model, shoulder room at the rear is increased by 3.15 inches (80mm) and elbow room grows 4.72 inches (120mm).

The new BMW 3 Series Convertible offers open-air driving pleasure for four occupants. The front seats come with integrated belt systems and the centre console extends all the way to the rear, splitting the rear into two single seats for extra comfort by offering generous headroom thanks to their low seating position.

Access to the two seats at the rear is facilitated by both the seat release lever fitted at the top of the seat backrest and the 2x-speed fore-aft power adjustment switch.

By folding the rear seat backrest down, it is possible to load bulky objects on the flat area behind the rear seats, without the risk of harming the upholstery.

The 3 Series Convertible’s navigation and radio antennas are integrated within the car. Radio reception with the roof open is ensured by aerials in the side panels, while aerials in the rear window are automatically activated as soon as the roof is closed. Vehicles equipped with SIRIUS satellite radio (U.S. market) are equipped with a separate antenna mounted on the rear decklid.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: side view, open roof.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: side view, closed roof.

The first electronically operated folding hard-top roof offered by BMW.

As an option, a through loading system can also be specified to allow for longer or bulkier items to be accommodated and... it can still be used when the folding metal roof is lowered. For added practicality, a stowed roof can be electronically raised out of the boot area to allow for longer items to be secured before being folded away again.

Sun-Reflective Technology - The occupants of BMW’s latest four-seat Convertible can leave the roof open for prolonged periods without burning themselves on the seats or armrests.

Thanks to the Sun-Reflective Technology, special pigments embedded into the leather help reflect infra-red radiation so that treated areas that are exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period can remain up to 20 degrees cooler compared to untreated leather. All other qualities of the leather material remain unchanged.

Additionally, an accessory wind deflector reduces air swirl within the interior even at high speeds. The new wind deflector is fastened firmly in the rear of the passenger compartment by supports in the side panels and can be swivelled into position. One movement of the hand either on the driver’s or passenger’s side is sufficient to securely fasten the deflector in position.

Engines - At launch, the new 3 Series Convertible will a choice of two 6-cylinder petrol engines, both with new High-Precision Direct Injection technology: the 325i and 335i Convertible (328i and 335i in the US), before further engine variants follow during the model’s life cycle.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: roof mechanism opening, 1 of 7.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: roof mechanism opening, 2 of 7.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: roof mechanism opening, 3 of 7.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: roof mechanism opening, 4 of 7.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: roof mechanism opening, 5 of 7.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: roof mechanism opening, 6 of 7.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: roof mechanism opening, 7 of 7.

A flowing motion as each lid element rests above the other.

The new High-Precision Direct Injection system on the BMW 3 Series Convertible uses centrally-mounted piezo crystal injectors spraying atomised fuel vapour directly into the combustion chamber. Combined with BMW's Bi-VANOS variable valve technology, the Bavarian brand claims that the new system delivers the most efficient burn of fuel for maximum power and frugality.

The 325i Convertible with its all-new 218hp inline six-cylinder engine (3-litre, 2996cc) develops 270Nm of torque. It covers the 62mph (0-100 km/h) sprint in 7.6 seconds and can attain a top speed of 152mph (245 km/h). Its combined consumption figure is 35.8mpg (imperial mpg, equivalent to 7.89 litres / 100 km, or 29.8 US mpg).

The flagship of the range will be the 335i Convertible with its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre (2979cc) engine. Using an aluminium cylinder block rather than the magnesium alloy unit of the 325i Convertible (and 330i / 328i versions), the 335i posts a zero to 62mph (100 km/h) time of 5.8 seconds. The 306hp engine has peak torque of 400Nm from just 1,300rpm through to 5,000rpm. Top speed has been restricted to 155mph (250 km/h). Fuel consumption on the combined cycle is 28.5mpg (9.91 litres / 100km, 23.75 US mpg).

Both the 325i Convertible and the 335i Convertible come with a standard 6-speed manual gearbox. A new 6-speed automatic transmission featuring steering-wheel mounted gearshift paddles first shown on the 3 Series Coupé can be ordered as an option.

After the 325i Convertible and the 335i Convertible, three further engines will be introduced.

The 320i Convertible with its all-new 170hp four-cylinder engine (direct injection too) will accelerate from zero to 62mph (100 km/h) in 9.2 seconds before going on to a top speed of 136mph (219 km/h), with 42.2mpg on the combined cycle (imperial mpg, equivalent to 6.69 litres / 100 km, or 35.16 US mpg).

Another version of the 3.0-litre (2996cc) straight-six will propels the 272hp 330i Convertible from zero to 62mph (100 km/h) in 6.7 seconds. It is electronically limited to 155mph (250 km/h). On the combined cycle, the 330i Convertible returns a fuel consumption figure of 34.9mpg (imperial mpg, equivalent to 8.09 litres / 100 km, or 29.08 US mpg).

For diesel fans, the 231hp 330d Convertible will bring a flat torque curve with a maximum 500Nm. The second-generation common rail engine allows the 330d Convertible to beat the zero to 62mph (100 km/h) in 7.1 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 152mph (245 km/h). The combined consumption figure is 40.9mpg  (equivalent to 6.91 litres / 100 km, or 34.08 US mpg).

In the United States, the new BMW model will be launched in two versions: the 335i Convertible (mentioned above) and the 328i Convertible. The latter is equipped with the 3.0-litre (2996cc) inline six-cylinder engine, delivering 230 horsepower at a peak of 6,500rpm and 200 lb-ft (271 Nm) of torque at 2,750 rpm. It features BMW’s Valvetronic system, which eliminates the conventional throttle body for throttle control, a magnesium/aluminium block and an electric engine coolant pump. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph comes in 6.7 seconds for the six-speed manual and in 7.2 seconds for vehicles with the Steptronic six-speed automatic transmission. Both the 335i and the 328i are limited in the U.S. specifications to 130 mph (209 km/h) or 150 mph (241 km/h) if equipped with the Sport Package.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: front view.

The specific style of the Convertible starts at the contours of the hood as well as the special design of the front air dam and headlights.

Design - Following the Sedan, Sport Wagon and Coupe, the new 3 Series Convertible is the fourth variant of the BMW 3 Series line-up. Despite the familial resemblance in many design features typical of the brand, the new Convertible is unique.

Looking at the front end of the new Convertible, similarities to the 3 Series Coupe are only from the A-pillar forward. The specific style of the new Convertible starts at the contours of the long and low hood as well as the special design of the front air dam and headlights. The BMW kidney grilles stand out more upright than the surrounding areas and surfaces.

The new Convertible comes with bi-Xenon Adaptive headlights (standard in the U.S. To be checked depending on markets) with BMW’s unique corona ring lights serving as daytime running lamps, providing efficient daytime illumination.

The side view of the car is dominated by the horizontal shoulder line, with the large wheel arches and a contour line that runs level with the door handles. A sill-line at the lower edge of the doors continues all the way into the air dams at the front and rear.

With the roof down, the new BMW 3 Series Convertible also looks low and wide from behind. While the contour line ends in the rear light clusters at each side, the shoulder line extends around the entire rear section.

The rear tail lamp assemblies are split into two sections and extend all the way into the lid of the luggage compartment. Horizontal LED light rods ensure a striking look at night, while the third brake light is integrated into the aerodynamically-designed spoiler edge on the decklid.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: Rear tail lamp assemblies split into two sections, extending into the lid of the luggage compartment.

Rear tail lamp assemblies in two sections, extending into the boot lid.

Suspension and steering - With power being transmitted to the rear wheels, the rack-and-pinion steering remains free of drive forces, unlike front-wheel drive cars where the front wheels serve for both traction and direction.

Optional Active Steering varies steering ratio as a function of road speed for higher steering ratio at the same steering wheel angle at low speeds than at high speeds. This enables the driver to control the car even more smoothly and with minimal effort, while remaining precisely on course at high speeds in the interest of maximum safety.

The 3 Series Convertible features a double-pivot McPherson strut-type aluminium suspension in front and a five-link independent rear suspension, with a low centre of gravity and well-balanced axle load.

Wheels, tyres and brakes - The standard 17-inch alloy wheels run on 225/45R17 tires with run-flat technology. Even with a complete loss of pressure in one tire, the vehicle can continue to be driven for up to 150 miles (240 km) at 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) to get to the nearest service station. BMW’s new Tire Pressure Monitor watches the pressures in each tire and will warn the driver as soon as the pressure drops more than 25 percent below the optimum level.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: front-side view, driving shot.

The kidney grilles stand out more upright than the surrounding areas.

The brake system is further upgraded by BMW’s Dynamic Stability Control with its innovative new functions. This latest generation of DSC technology controls brake functions and vehicle stability on slippery roads by applying individual wheel brakes and reducing engine output.

Other features of the advanced brake system include:

  • Brake Drying - By lightly applying the pads in wet weather conditions, optimum stopping power can also be experienced in the wet,

  • Brake Standby – Preloads the brake pads to enhance brake response whenever necessary, especially after sudden accelerator pedal release,

  • Brake Fade Compensation - Maximizes brake pressure whenever necessary in the interest of particular stopping power. The result is even foot pedal pressure no matter how hot the brakes get,

  • Cornering Brake Control - Counteracts unwanted oversteer when applying the brakes lightly in a bend and in conjunction with Active Steering, DSC can countersteer appropriately to maintain additional stability at all times,

  • Start Off Assistant - Holds the vehicle for three seconds when stopped on an uphill to prevent rolling back when releasing the brake pedal,

  • Dynamic Stability Control - Ensures optimum traction on loose surfaces, while Dynamic Traction Control can be selected to raise the threshold before it applies the brakes. It promotes a sportier style of driving, allowing light wheel slip on the drive wheels. DSC may be deactivated completely when appropriate.

Body - The combination of innovative and proven materials, as well as modern production technology, give a light and stable body. BMW claims that its body development specialists have achieved the highest level of torsional stiffness ever seen in a BMW Convertible.

Unladen weight of the new BMW 3 Series Convertible is approximately 400 lb (181 kg) above that of the BMW 3 Series Coupe. This extra weight results from the installation of additional support members in the floor and the electric motors and hydraulic elements required for the retractable hardtop.

The innovative plastic side front fenders weigh 50 percent less than conventional steel panels. They are made of a special synthetic material and no longer have to be painted separately. They go through the regular painting process together with the complete body-in-white.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: side view, driving shot.

The windshield frame is also a rollover safety bar.

Protection - The front and side airbags, belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters are activated by the car’s sensor-controlled safety electronics based on the type and severity of the impact.

The side airbags are integrated into the seat backrests and inflate in the event of a side-impact collision over a large area extending from the bottom of the backrest all the way to the upper edge of the headrest to provide upper body and head protection regardless of seating position.

Extra safety in the event of a rollover is ensured by the windshield frame that serves as a rollover safety bar. Rollover sensors that permanently monitor all vertical and horizontal movements of the car can activate rollbars positioned behind the rear headrests. The belt latch tensioners on the front seats as well as the side airbags are activated within fractions of a second.

iDrive with Programmable Memory Keys - The new BMW 3 Series Convertible features BMW’s iDrive system to control the Navigation, Climate, Entertainment, and Communication functions. The new monitor automatically adjusts to ambient light conditions and is ergonomically positioned in the instrument panel.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: side view ith windows up and roof down.

A contour line runs level with the door handles. A sill-line at the lower edge of the doors continues into the air dams at the front and rear.

New to the 3 Series Convertible are eight Programmable Memory Keys on the dashboard that serve to simplify operation and control. Two of the eight keys allow quick access to AM or FM radio stations and control the music source. The remaining six can be programmed for favourite items such as navigation destinations, radio stations or even telephone numbers. The keys are touch-sensitive: each respective function is clearly presented on the iDrive display as soon as the driver places his or her finger on the button.

Equipment - The new BMW 3 Series Convertible is available with a wide choice of high-tech audio, navigation, Bluetooth and telematic functions.

New 4th generation BMW 3 Series Convertible: side view with roof and windows down.

Convertible mode on the air conditioning: only with the roof open.

With the new management and control of the automatic air conditioning, automatic programs for ventilating the car (selected through iDrive) are now being supplemented by another mode: In addition to the three “Gentle”, “Medium” and “Intense” stages, the driver is also able to activate a “Convertible” mode whenever the roof is open. This reduces the influence of the interior temperature sensor on the ventilation control. Instead, temperature control and blower intensity are controlled as a function of the exterior temperature and sun glare. A further function is adaptation of the amount of air flowing into the car to its current speed on the road, with Automatic Air Recirculation (AAR) being automatically deactivated at a road speed of more than 50 mph (80 km/h). When using the heater, the distribution of air is optimised to provide the same consistent temperature throughout the interior of the car.

The new Convertible mode on the automatic air conditioning is available only with the roof open. As soon as the retracting hardtop folds up over the passenger compartment, the automatic air conditioning will return to the program last chosen when the car was closed, the Convertible mode then being automatically reactivated when the driver opens the roof again.

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