Still the standard when it comes to perfectly sorted vehicle dynamics, potent and sophisticated engines, high-quality interior materials, wide range of configurations to suit any taste, available all-wheel drive.
Costs more than most competitors, not much interior storage space.
There are several reasons why the new 2007 BMW 335i Convertible has been built with a retractable hardtop instead of a conventional cloth top.
Most of them are practical but boring, like security and wind noise. But for Albin Dirndorfer, BMW's project manager for the new 2007 3 Series Convertible, it is all about elegance.
"Elegant people don't want to hop around their car, fastening latches or covers," Dirndorfer explains during the introduction of the 335i convertible here in Scottsdale, Arizona. "Elegant personalities have their own style, and this car looks right with the top up or down," he continues.
We don't remember doing much hopping around with the last 3 Series convertible, but we know what he means. Then Dirndorfer describes the drip moldings on the new top as "the perfect accessories, like an elegant woman's handbag," and we're thinking he's going a little too deep into the whole "elegance" thing.
Lost in translation We can see why Dirndorfer felt the urge to take his "elegance" metaphor a little too far. The new 335i convertible is an attractive mix of complex engineering and fine design.
With the top up, the convertible's roof line is nearly identical to that of the coupe. Unless you look carefully at the cut lines of the hardtop and the distinctive angle where the rear glass meets the deck lid, you would never be able to tell the convertible apart from a standard 3 Series coupe.
Although built from lightweight steel, the hardtop's three folding panels don't make the structure of the car any more rigid when the top is deployed. This chore is accomplished by chassis reinforcements built into the floorpan and rear bulkhead.
This additional structure, plus the hardtop and its operating mechanism, pads on 452 pounds to the 3,571-pound 335i coupe for a total of 4,023 pounds.
In order to maintain optimal front-to-rear weight distribution, plastic quarter panels are used up front. According to BMW, these new panels are not only 50 percent lighter than equivalent steel versions, they're also dent-resistant.
Go ahead and mark this as the only time BMW will ever draw technical inspiration from Saturn.
No-compromise convertible With 30-percent-larger side windows, BMW says overall rearward visibility has been increased by 38 percent. After a few hours behind the wheel we're 100 percent sure it's easier to see out of the 335i convertible than its rag-top predecessor.
In fact, when you're in the driver seat, the convertible feels nearly identical to the coupe. Headroom isn't compromised and the interior headliner fits perfectly without any exposed hardware.
When it's time to drop the roof, you can pull the short lever mounted on the center console between the seats, or you can even use a switch on the key fob if you're standing beside the car.
It takes all of 22 seconds on the way down and 23 ticks on the way up, so the hardtop easily passes the stoplight test. Good thing, too, as the top won't work on the move since the rear deck obscures the license plate as it opens up. (This is a federally mandated restriction, we're told.)
Tricky top If you've ever seen a card dealer cut a deck with one hand, you have an idea of what the Edscha-engineered hardtop looks like as it retracts and is stowed beneath the rear deck.
The front piece slides over the middle panel, while the back piece goes on top. Then the steel sandwich stacks itself neatly under the deck lid, leaving a perfectly crisp profile from the car's nose to its tail.
BMW's designers specifically pointed out that the low beltline of the new convertible keeps the backseat from feeling like a deep-sided, leather-lined hot tub, as with most convertibles. They're right, because the view from the backseat is great, but legroom is in short supply and the hardtop mechanism pushes the backrest slightly forward.
Cargo room is also down a bit due to the complex top. The 12.3 cubic feet of trunk space available with the top up is reduced to 7.4 cubic feet once the top is stowed, where it intrudes into the trunk. Still, this is more cargo volume than the Volvo C70, the only other hardtop in the class.
An enlarged cargo pass-through for the rear-seat backrest is a new option for a BMW convertible. It's about twice the width of the standard pass-through behind the armrest cutout, although the rear seatback has to be folded down to take advantage of it. It's big enough to swallow a set of golf clubs, but you're better off taking your SUV to the course instead.
Taking the edge off The twin-turbo, 300-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-6 in the 335i convertible might have the mass of 4,023 pounds to move around, but there's not a quicker four-seat convertible short of a Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG. BMW claims this new convertible with its six-speed manual transmission will accelerate to 60 mph 5.8 seconds, just 0.3 second slower than a coupe with a six-speed manual.
We think the optional six-speed automatic is the better setup for this car, though.
This new ZF-engineered transmission makes very quick, precisely timed shifts in the automatic mode, and shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel let you shift manually. It's interesting that a company known for offering manual gearboxes in nearly all of its models has introduced an automatic so good that it nearly makes a stick shift seem obsolete.
The convertible's structural reinforcements prove their worth on the road, because there's zero cowl shake and no noticeable flex in the body either. BMW says this convertible has the highest torsional rigidity of any convertible in its history, and we can tell you that it drives that way.
Meanwhile, air turbulence in the cockpit is well controlled, too, especially with the rear-seat wind blocker in place.
Push this car hard on the road and it feels like the convertible has been dialed back one notch compared to the coupe. There's a bit less road feel and the car makes slower transitions from turn to turn. Blame the extra 452 pounds or the 225/45R17 tires (the Sport package will offer front 225/40R-18 and rear 255/35R-18 run-flat tires), yet the car still drives great. It invites you to thrash it in the same way as the 3 Series coupe does.
Small price to pay Set to go on sale in April for around $46,000, the 2007 BMW 335i Convertible will enter the market with few direct competitors.
Sure, there are convertibles like the Audi A4 cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz CLK and Volvo C70, but none of them put together 300 hp, a retractable hardtop and a stiff, driver-oriented chassis all in one package like the BMW.
Factor in all that elegance, and it's not even close.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
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Price comparisons for used 2007 BMW 3 Series trim styles:
The used 2007 BMW 3 Series 335xi is priced around $8995 with average odometer reading of 101101 miles.
The used 2007 BMW 3 Series 335i is priced around $9590 with average odometer reading of 96367 miles.
The used 2007 BMW 3 Series 328xi is priced around $8597 with average odometer reading of 103782 miles.
The used 2007 BMW 3 Series 328i is priced around $9470 with average odometer reading of 92838 miles.
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What options are available on the 2007 BMW 3 Series?
Available BMW 3 Series 2007 Submodel Types: Diesel, Sedan, Coupe, Hybrid, Convertible, Wagon, Hatchback
Exterior Colors: Mineral Grey Metallic, Glacier Silver Metallic, Imperial Blue Metallic, Mineral White Metallic, Mediterranean Blue Metallic, Melbourne Red Metallic, Estoril Blue, Platinum Silver Metallic, Blue Water Metallic, Orion Silver Metallic, Liquid Blue Metallic, Jet Black, Estoril Blue Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Mojave Metallic, Titanium Silver Metallic, Montego Blue Metallic, Orient Blue Metallic, Alpine White, Deep Sea Blue Metallic, Arctic Metallic, Silver Gray Metallic, Sparkling Bronze Metallic, Jatoba Brown Metallic, Mystic Blue Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic, Space Gray Metallic, Sunset Orange Metallic, Electric Red, Le Mans Blue Metallic, Monaco Blue Metallic, Tasman Green Metallic, Steel Gray Metallic, Atlantic Blue Metallic, Crimson Red, Sparkling Graphite Metallic, Bright Red, Imola Red, Oxford Green Metallic, Arctic Silver Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic, Deep Green Metallic, Fern Green Metallic, Sonora Metallic, Alpine White III, Barbera Red Metallic, Barrique Red Metallic, Brilliant Red, Calypso Red Metallic, Light Yellow Metallic, Madeira Black Pearl Metallic, Topaz Blue Metallic, Vermilion Red Metallic
Interior Colors: Black SensaTec leatherette, Venetian Beige leatherette, Black Dakota premium leather, Beige leatherette, Black Dakota w/Dark Oyster Highlight leather, Venetian Beige/Black SensaTec leatherette, Saddle Brown Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching premium leather, Oyster Dakota leather, Black Dakota leather, Black, Gray, Black leatherette, Chestnut Brown premium leather, Saddle Brown Dakota w/Brown Highlight leather, Black SensaTec w/Red Highlight leatherette, Beige premium leather, Saddle Brown Dakota premium leather, Coral Red Dakota w/Black Highlight leather, Natural Brown, Black Dakota w/Red Highlight leather, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota w/Dark Oyster Highlight leather, Saddle Brown premium leather, Cognac Dakota w/Dark Brown Highlight leather, Gray leather, Black Dakota w/Red Highlight premium leather, Coral Red Dakota w/Black Highlight premium leather, Gray premium leather, Black w/Red Highlight leatherette, Venetian Beige/Black Dakota leather, Saddle Brown/Black premium leather, Sand, Oyster/Black premium leather, Saddle Brown Dakota w/Brown Highlight and Brown Lower Dashboard leather, Coral Red/Black Dakota premium leather, Dakota Oyster/Black w/Dark Oyster Accent leather, Venetian Beige Dakota premium leather, Venetian Beige Dakota w/Dark Oyster Highlight leather, Cream Beige Dakota premium leather, Black Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching premium leather, Black leather, Black premium leather, Cream Beige leatherette, Oyster Dakota w/Dark Oyster Highlight premium leather, Oyster/Black Dakota premium leather, Terra/Black premium leather, Beige leather, Black suede/cloth, Coral Red/Black premium leather, Gray/Black Dakota premium leather, Natural Brown leather, Oyster premium leather, Cognac Dakota w/Dark Brown Highlight and Cognac Lower Dashboard leather, Cream Beige premium leather, Sand leather, Tanin Red, Venetian Beige Dakota w/Exclusive Stitching premium leather, Veneto Beige Dakota premium leather
Popular Features: USB Inputs, Alarm, Parking sensors, Back-up camera, Keyless Entry/Start, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Aux Audio Inputs, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Post-collision safety system, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Blind Spot Monitoring, Sunroof/Moonroof, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Heads up display, Upgraded Headlights, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Soft Top, Upgraded Stereo, AWD/4WD, Fold Flat Rear Seats, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Power Driver Seat, Lane Departure Warning, Leather Seats, 360-degree camera, Bluetooth, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Heated seats, Adaptive Cruise Control, Navigation
The used 2007 BMW 3 Series is offered in the following submodels: Coupe, Sedan, Wagon, Convertible. Available styles include 328i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 335i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), and 335xi 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M). Pre-owned 3 Series models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 300 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2007 3 Series comes with rear wheel drive or all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual.