US journalists dubbed the new 3-series cabrio 'the ultimate tanning machine' at its Detroit launch
10 January 2007

'The ultimate tanning machine,' is what US journalists christened BMW's new 3-series Convertible at its Detroit debut.

This new open-top Three marks Munich's first foray in the folding tin-top market. BMW's engineers were keen to show off its three-piece folding metal roof, made in conjunction with German specialist Edscha, which stacks neatly and folds away in about 20 seconds.

Two models were on the Detroit stand; the 3.0-litre 330i (still dubbed the 328i in the US) and its twin-turbocharged 335i. UK buyers can also expect 320i and 325i petrol versions when the Convertible goes on sale later this year; BMW could even sell as many as three oil-burning variants (320d, 330d and 335d) in due course. All CCs will be roughly 200kg heavier than their coupe equivalents.

BMW insists that, despite the packaging challenges associated with folding metal roofs, this new 3-series open-top is more commodious than the last fabric-topped one. Six-feet-tall passengers are just about accommodated in the rear cabin, we discovered, although both knee- and headroom are limited.

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