BMW's folding hard-top 3-series
23 August 2006

Here's proof that BMW is about to steal a march on its key rivals by making a folding hard-top 3-series.

Audi's A4 and Mercedes-Benz's CLK both have soft-tops, allowing the Volvo C70 a pretty clear run at the market. But these spy shots show that BMW's challenger is undergoing final development - it's due in showrooms in March next year.

The styling of the recently-launched coupe is largely retained, with the same nose, short overhang and heavily sculpted swage line running down the coupé-cabriolet’s flank.

However, the profile shows an extended roof compared to the coupé’s, with the C-pillar set a little further back to give space for the folding steel roof mechanism, which folds the roof to be flush with the boot.

The darker paint on this car’s roof is not a production feature: cars will have body-coloured roofs.

Under the bonnet will be the coupé’s engines. That means 218bhp 2.5-litre and 302bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight sixes. The latter engine takes the coupé to 60mph in 5.5sec - expect the CC to take around 6, thanks to its increased weight.

Our Verdict

Kia Cee'd

The Kia Cee’d is more than good enough to harry the opposition, which is an achievement in itself for the fiercely competitive family hatchback class

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Diesel and lower-powered petrol engines will arrive later. Prices are expected to start from £27,000.

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Our Verdict

Kia Cee'd

The Kia Cee’d is more than good enough to harry the opposition, which is an achievement in itself for the fiercely competitive family hatchback class

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week