BMW Cabriolet: Practical Four-Seater GT Car for Long Distance Travel
Many would not consider a 3-series BMW a sports car but the 335i Convertible has higher performance than most two-seaters. Is this what the traditional GT has become?
Under six seconds to 60mph and a top speed that would exceed 155mph if not electronically limited makes this a very sporting car. Not an out and out sports car, it is a very effective long distance GT.
Award-winning Twin-turbo 3 litre BMW 335i Engine
The 3 litre twin turbo straight six is a fabulous engine. It makes a wonderful noise when pressed but is refined when driven sensibly. It has huge torque (400Nm) from tick-over to the red line. The huge low down torque combined with a very sharp throttle means the driver has to take care when pulling away to avoid passenger whiplash.
Despite 306 horsepower it gives a fuel consumption of around 35 miles per gallon (28mpg US) when cruised at legal motorway speeds. With smaller diesel engines this could be 60mpg.
Practical aspects of the BMW 335i
With the lower roof line of the coupe and only two doors, access to the rear is a bit awkward for less flexible passengers. Nevertheless four six-footers can travel in reasonable comfort although for some headroom in the back might be tight.
With the metal folding roof up the boot (trunk) is similar to the Coupe and big enough for a couple for continental touring or four people for a long weekend away. Space halves with the hood down but is still plenty big enough for a couple to spend a few days away.
With the roof down and windows up buffeting from the wind is not too intrusive up to about 70mph in the front, at least on warm days. With no side glass wind is a bit more noticeable but it is a much cooler look! The optional wind deflector makes the convertible a two-seater and almost eliminates buffeting but owners may need to fiddle to stop it rattling. With the roof up the deflector also masks backseat luggage from prying eyes.
Ride and Handling
With ideal weight distribution and BMW’s long experience building competition and high-performance road cars it is not surprising that the 3-series Convertible handles precisely and will be enjoyed by any enthusiastic driver. The suspension is firm, like many Germany cars but is not normally harsh. It is generally refined on well surfaced highways and will allow large mileages to be covered in comfort.
However, even at low speeds, there can be serious jarring when a wheel drops into a pot hole. This is particularly true with the 19inch, easly kerbed, very low profile, run-flat tyres and for most drivers the 18 or even 17 inch wheel would be a better compromise and would sacrifice little handling precision in everyday motoring.
As with all BMWs the build quality is good and the cabin layout ergonomic. The black interior with the brushed aluminium trim is pleasant change from unconvincing wood trim.
It feels stiff and shuttle shake is not too evident, except over the severest potholes, even with the roof down but the convertible does not sound as solid as the fixed head models. There are creaks andrattles over uneven surfaces. More irritating, for some, are the many low level rattles which are present even on good roads. The dealer has not eliminated these even having had the car for several weeks over a year; always willing to try but with limited results.
The BMW 335i Convertible is an effective modern grand tourer or GT. Space for a couple on a major tour; comfort and performance for high speed cruising across continents with handling to allow drivers to press on and enjoy the twisty roads of the more scenic places; especially in Europe. With the roof down one can pose and cruise through town. An excellent package to be enjoyed long-term.
First appeared on Suite101