It will be available initially in 325i and 335i guises, but followed closely by smaller engined variants and diesel-powered models.
The car feature the first electronically operated folding hard-top roof from BMW and will be the world’s first car to be offered with SunReflective seat cooling leather and a series of all-new powerplants.
Stowed or raised in approximately 22 seconds, the new roof has been introduced, not only for added security, but also for better visibility and a greater feeling of space and light for occupants.
Because the roof features a larger rear glass windscreen and side windows, visibility has improved by 38 per cent compared to the outgoing 3 Series Convertible.
The way in which the roof folds also maximises available boot space. With the roof up, there is 350 litres of storage capacity while with the roof down, the boot can still accommodate up to 210 litres of luggage. In another world first, the rear seat backrests of a 3 Series Convertible can also be folded flat to provide additional storage space. As an option, a through loading system with transport bag can also be specified to allow for longer or bulkier items and it can still be used when the folding metal roof is lowered.
The new 3 Series Convertible features a range of engines: a choice of two petrol engines, both with new high-precision direct injection technology. The 325i Convertible with its all-new 218bhp six-cylinder engine develops 270Nm of torque. The open-topped 325i covers the 62mph sprint in 7.6 seconds and can do a top speed of 152mph. It has a combined fuel consumption figure of 35.8mpg.
The flagship of the range is the 335i Convertible with its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre engine. The 335i posts a 0 to 62mph time of 5.8 seconds. The 306bhp engine, higher than the output of the E36 BMW M3, has been restricted to a 155mph top speed. Fuel consumption on the combined cycle is 28.5mpg.
Both the 325i Convertible and the 335i Convertible come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. A new six-speed automatic transmission featuring steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles first shown on the 3 Series Coupé can also be specified.
Following the introduction of the 325i Convertible and the 335i Convertible, three further engines will be introduced. The 320i Convertible with its all-new 170hp four-cylinder engine will accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 9.2 seconds before going on to a top speed of 136mph, yet still manages 42.2mpg on the combined cycle.
The 3.0-litre straight-six powering the 330i Convertible is the world’s lightest production six-cylinder engine and is also one of the highest performing. The 2,996cc 272bhp unit is capable of propelling the 330i Convertible from 0 to 62mph in 6.7 seconds and is electronically limited to 155mph.
The car returns a combined fuel consumption figure of 34.9mpg.
The 231bhp 330d Convertible is also offered. Zero to 62mph is reached in 7.1 seconds and top speed is 152mph. The 330d Convertible posts a combined consumption figure of 40.9mpg.
The BMW 3 Series Convertible will make its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 7.