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BMW M3 Convertible (2008)

Published: 04 December 2007

Didn't try and disguise it much, did they?

Yes, we’ve caught BMW’s upcoming M3 Cabriolet barely undisguised and months ahead of its official debut. Caught by eagle-eyed CAR reader Paul Newton in the streets of Munich, this test car shows BMW’s third M3 derivative – after the coupe and recently announced saloon.

It’s due to bow in at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2008 before being rushed through production so the UK – one of Europe’s keenest Motorsport markets – receives right-hand drive models in time for summer. Expect prices to start around the £55,000 mark.


 

It looks just like the coupe...

BMW has been able to preserve the sleek lines of the coupe with a clever bit of origami engineering. While most metal-roofed cabriolets have a vast windscreen to keep the length of the roof section short for easier stowage, the 3-series convertible has a fully automatic steel roof that folds into three sections – two parts roof, one part rear screen – that stack on top of each other and take up less room.

So no large bloated rear end and no IMAX-sized screen up front. Roof up, boot space will be a decent 350 litres, but al fresco driving will drop this to around 250 litres. 

What have they done to stop it wobbling about like a jelly?

The current 3-series convertible may be a full 50 percent stiffer than the previous generous, but the M3 version has undergone additional stiffening and structural enhancements to further boost torsional rigidity and ensure the lidless chassis can handle the performance of the 4.0-litre Motorsport powerplant.

Despite the lightweight alloy-intensive nature of these reinforcements, expect the Convertible to weigh in at a hefty 1860kg – a full 200kg more than the coupe.

Surely that weight will blunt the performance...

Yes, it won't be such a pin-sharp steer either. While the M3 coupe is fitted with a carbonfibre roof to reduce the centre of gravity, the Convertible will have a three-part metal roof, complete with electro-hydraulic folding gubbins.

Not that the Convertible will be slow, you understand – with 420bhp at a wailing 8300rpm and 295lb ft of torque at 3900rpm, it should hit 60mph in a fraction over five seconds and buff up against its 155mph limiter with nonchalant ease, while making some of the most glorious noises in the process.

 

Surely that weight will blunt the performance...

Yes, it won't be such a pin-sharp steer either. While the M3 coupe is fitted with a carbonfibre roof to reduce the centre of gravity, the Convertible will have a three-part metal roof, complete with electro-hydraulic folding gubbins.

Not that the Convertible will be slow, you understand – with 420bhp at a wailing 8300rpm and 295lb ft of torque at 3900rpm, it should hit 60mph in a fraction over five seconds and buff up against its 155mph limiter with nonchalant ease, while making some of the most glorious noises in the process.

 

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars

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