2011 BMW 3 Series Convertible Press Kit

2011 BMW 3 Series Hardtop Convertibles

The year-round capable convertibles.

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 1, 2010…Few automobiles stir emotions quite like a convertible. Whether it's the feeling of freedom created by top-down driving or their seductive shapes, convertibles have long been regarded by many enthusiasts and onlookers as providing a one-of-a-kind exhilarating driving experience. However, that experience can come at a price because a traditional fabric roof often does not provide sufficient chassis stiffness necessary for agile handling.

Writing for Car and Driver.com, Dave Vanderwerp observed that the 3 Series Convertibles drive as good as they look. "From the driver's seat, we can tell you that the new 3 Series is among the stiffest in its class, with almost no perceptible quivers felt through either the seat or the steering wheel."

Sam Hardy of the UK's Auto Express wrote, "... just like its predecessors, the newcomer drives brilliantly. Strengthening of the chassis and windscreen pillars has resulted in the stiffest open-top BMW ever, and the 3 Series feels rock-solid over bumps. With such a solid platform, it's great fun through bends, turning in instantly, staying flat during high-speed cornering and giving excellent feel thanks to its weighty, accurate steering."

Updates and Enhancements for 2011 models
BMW has announced substantial enhancements to the 2011 3 Series Convertible, including outstanding style updates for 328i and 335i models and a new engine for 335i models. The 2011 3 Series Convertible models went on sale in Spring 2010. The 2011 model 328i Convertible and 335i Convertible start at $46,375 and $52,575, respectively, including $875 Destination & Handling fee.

Fundamentally unchanged are each car’s essential attributes of rear-wheel drive, near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution, remarkably precise steering, and skillfully engineered suspension…all of which conspire to produce the uniquely satisfying driving experience that is quintessentially BMW.

All-new is the engine for the 335i model. Internally designated the “N55,” this turbocharged, all-aluminum engine features essentially the same “short block” and 3.0-liter displacement of its predecessor, but benefits from five additional years worth of development and refinement. The result is an engine that is more responsive, more fuel efficient, and cleaner-running than its outstanding predecessor, but preserves the previous engine’s output and soul: 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, and a 7,000 rpm redline. The 6-speed manual gearbox – beloved by North American enthusiast drivers - remains standard, and the well-known 6-speed Steptronic automatic is optional, now featuring “pull-style” shift paddles on the multifunction steering wheel.

Design. Reflecting the legendary distinction of BMW Convertibles
The profile of the BMW 3 Series Convertible is instantly recognizable at first glance. Beyond the basic shape of the car and its classic lines, the new design of the headlights, the enhanced depth and detail of the taillights, the interior, and even the exterior mirrors were specifically created for the 3 Series Coupe and Convertible. These unique design elements reflect the sporty character of the car. The driver who chooses a two-door vehicle desires a car with dynamic looks as well as driving performance. With this in mind, BMW engineers and designers set out to create a unique, unmistakable blend of design features and most importantly, driving pleasure.

It all begins with proportions. The new, long hood powerfully symbolizes BMW's loyalty to the inherently balanced inline-6 engine. The long wheelbase, short overhangs, the passenger compartment set aft and the low, sleek roofline which seamlessly slopes into the trunk are all characteristics of the BMW retractable hardtop Convertible.

In addition to the classic proportions, three design lines—the shoulder, character and lower sill lines— enhance the sleek appearance. Both the shoulder line and character line stretch uninterrupted to the back of the car, allowing one's eye to move quickly and smoothly from front to rear along the entire length of the car. The sill line of the lower edge of the door flows into the front and rear air dams, reinforcing the dynamic nature of BMW's newest 3 Series Convertible.

The combination of lines flowing into one another elegantly emphasizes the vehicles’ performance potential. While the shoulder line rises slightly but consistently from front to rear, the character line flows in a long, stretched arch all the way from the front fender to the new taillights. As the sill line, by contrast, moves up slightly to the rear in a slow and gentle curve, the distance between the character and sill lines becomes smaller near the rear wheel arches. The fender flare around each rear wheel also serves to give the character line extra tension in both an upward and outward direction.

Attractive new innovations at the front, side, and rear - integrated precisely into the overall look of the car- give greater emphasis to the sportiness of both models. At the same time, these modifications slightly extend the overhangs front and rear (now 1.14” and 0.12” longer, respectively), which adds a sleeker and even more athletic appearance.

The new, widened kidney grille, a signature feature of every BMW, suits the broad new hood and stands out from the surfaces around it. Interaction with the three-dimensional kidney frame creates a look of power and unique style. The frame around the kidney grille now features a chrome band precisely twisted within itself.

The 3 Series Convertible comes standard in the U.S. with Xenon Adaptive Headlights, accented by BMW's signature corona light rings. At the top, the new headlights merge into a trim bar cutting off the light beam to create that concentrated, focused look typical of a genuine BMW. The corona rings, now powered by super-bright LED light sources, can serve as daytime running lights (if that feature is activated), and also as evening city lights, making the Convertible instantly recognizable as a BMW, day or night. The upper edge of each headlight fixture is also illuminated by an LED light source.

The new design of the taillights is unique to the 3 Series Coupe and Convertible. The rear light cluster feature two-piece L-shapes and are further accentuated by a new color scheme. With two rows of light tubes that illuminate simultaneously, they create a night design with depth and dimension. Integrated flush into the body of the car, the lights are split into two sections and extend up the trunk lid, blending with the character lines from the side profile. Horizontal LED tube taillights give the car an unmistakable look at night. The horizontal flowing lines accentuate the wide track and low stance of the Convertible.

An additional horizontal contour line has been added to the rear air dam to further accentuate the width of the Convertible. It creates light-and-shade effects to give the entire rear end a flatter and smoother appearance.

Deep Sea Blue Metallic, Vermillion Red Metallic, and Mineral White Metallic exterior colors will each become available for the new 3 Series Convertible this spring.

Retractable Hard Top
The BMW 3 Series Convertibles provide a new dimension to open-air motoring with a retractable hardtop. Made of lightweight steel and operated by an electro-hydraulic mechanism, the three-piece roof opens in just 22 seconds (taking only one second more to close) and folds smoothly into the rear compartment of BMW's newest convertibles. The three-element steel roof structure ensures lower noise levels even at high speeds, enhances safety, creates a more luxurious and comfortable cabin and helps stiffen the chassis to provide precise handling.

The roof opens automatically in a flowing motion as each of the three elements rests above the other to create a compact package. The rear lid opens rearward and once the roof has been opened or closed and the hardtop is locked, the driver is able to open the trunklid in the usual manner. The trunklid also comes with a soft-close feature that draws the lid down gently and automatically.

The roof and luggage compartments are separated from one another by a partition that swivels when the roof is closed to provide maximum luggage capacity. Another convenient feature is that the roof can open by remote control when the car is equipped with the Comfort Access option. Like the roof controls within the interior, the remote control button must be kept pressed down for safety during the entire opening process because movement of the roof elements is interrupted whenever the button is released.

A fresh interpretation of a traditional shape
The shape of the BMW 3 Series Convertible is characterized by well-balanced proportions that create an unmistakable silhouette. The long hood reflects BMW's adherence to the tradition of inline 6-cylinder engines. The long wheelbase, short overhangs, set-back passenger compartment and low roof line are all traditional BMW 3 Series Convertible characteristics.

In addition to these classic proportions, three design lines—the shoulder, character and sill lines—contribute to the sleek appearance. Whether the roof is retracted into the luggage compartment or closed, the new model continues the low shoulder line that has characterized the previous three generations of BMW 3 Series Convertibles. Both the shoulder line and character line stretch uninterrupted to the back of the car, allowing the viewer's eyes to move quickly and smoothly from front to rear along the car's entire length. The sill line along the lower edge of the door flows into the front and rear air dams, visually reinforcing the dynamic nature of BMW's newest convertibles.

While the shoulder line rises slightly but consistently from front to rear, the character line flows in a long, stretched arch all the way from the front fender to the taillights. As the sill line, by contrast, moves up slightly to the rear in a slow and gentle curve, the distance between the character and sill lines becomes smaller near the rear wheel arches. The fenders flares around each rear wheel also give the character line extra tension in both an upward and outward direction.

The front view reveals a significant distinction from the 3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon. The contours of the hood as well as the design of the front air dam and headlights give the BMW 3 Series Convertibles a particularly low and sporty look. The hood's powerdome alludes to the unique driving experience that awaits. Its lines form a powerful silhouette extending all the way from the A-pillars to the outside corners of the BMW twin kidney grille.

That kidney grille, a traditional feature of every BMW, stands out from the surfaces around it. Interaction with the three-dimensional kidney frame creates a look of power and unique style.

Since there are no conventional B-pillars, the feeling of open-air driving can still be achieved with just the side windows opened. Approaching the C-pillars, the traditional "Hofmeister kink" can be clearly seen. The rear window is fixed glass with an electric defroster for safety and convenience. The rear and side windows are 30 percent larger than their predecessors, offering improved rear visibility.

The 3 Series Convertibles' navigation and radio antennae are integrated within the car in order to not detract from the clean lines of the bodywork. Radio reception with the roof open is ensured by aerials in the side panels, while aerials in the rear window are automatically activated as soon as the roof is closed. Convertibles with optional SIRIUS satellite radio are equipped with a separate antenna mounted on the rear decklid.

Flowing lines provide an elegant interior
Like the exterior, the interior of the 3 Series Convertibles features sleek and flowing lines, powerful and tense surfaces and a highly attractive combination of convex and concave design elements.

The controls for air conditioning, audio and navigation systems were designed for optimum visibility and are within easy reach for the front passenger. Several controls and switches, including the door handles and gearshift lever are finished in Pearl Gray metal to provide a premium feel and an elegant appearance.

The side panels feature a smooth and sweeping design flow that extends from the dashboard to the backrests of the two rear seats. The center console also extends to the rear, serving as a storage compartment between the rear seats. Ambiance lighting, mounted on the door and the rear side panels, projects a warm, indirect lighting effect.

All-new turbocharged engine with Valvetronic for 335i
BMW 3 Series Convertible customers have a choice of two inline-6 engines that are the worlds’ finest. The 328i features 230 horsepower while the 335i has 300 horsepower and is the first inline-6 equipped with a single twin-scroll turbocharger, BMW’s Valvetronic throttle-less intake technology, High Precision direct fuel injection, and all-aluminum construction.

The 335i’s new inline-6 engine displaces 3.0-liters and develops maximum output of 300 hp at 5,800 rpm, with peak torque of 300 lb-ft available all the way from 1,200–5,000 rpm. Redline is 7,000 rpm. This is the same level of performance as the previous 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6 but with the innovation of twin-scroll technology and the integration of Valvetronic, this new engine is even more fuel efficient.

Historically, BMW engineers were never satisfied with the most often-cited downside to turbocharging: the frustrating “turbo lag” that occurs between the times at which driver presses the accelerator pedal and when the turbocharger develops sufficient rotation to increase power. Turbo lag is usually worse at low engine speeds. Other drawbacks included relatively high fuel consumption and poor emissions output. At the time, turbocharger technology was not a reliable, practical or efficient was to make power. For these and other reasons, BMW put turbocharged gasoline engines on the shelf for more than 20 years.

Two recent developments caused BMW to reconsider turbocharging. While many luxury-performance carmakers began to achieve power gains by building engines of ever-increasing displacement, BMW looked for a more efficient way; smaller engines and turbocharging made sense. Also, the technology transfer from BMW’s turbocharged diesel engines could easily be transferred to their gasoline-fired counterparts. Accordingly, BMW articulated its new approach to developing high-performance engines as part of its EfficientDynamics initiative.

The new N55 is the first BMW inline-6 to combine turbocharging, High Precision direct fuel injection, and Valvetronic variable intake technology. It features a single, mid-sized turbocharger with a “twin-scroll” housing to boost performance and minimize the response lag. Thanks to its housing design which maintains proper separation between streams of exhaust gasses, the turbocharger builds up pressure much faster than previous-generation turbochargers, thus eliminating even the slightest tendency for lag.

A further advantage of turbocharging is that this is the most weight-efficient method to boost engine power and performance. The N55 turbocharged inline-6 weighs approximately 150 lbs. less than an equally powerful eight-cylinder engine displacing 4.0 liters. This lower weight means a significant advantage not only in fuel economy, but also in balancing the car's weight distribution.

Using Valvetronic for the first time on a turbocharged inline-6 allows the engine to “inhale” air for combustion with virtually no delay and with reduced pumping losses. As a result, the engine makes power more quickly than ever before, and this is proven by the N55’s ability to reach peak torque at 1200rpm, 200rpm earlier than its predecessor.

As a result, the technology in the BMW 335i Convertible represents a significant achievement in terms of both performance and fuel efficiency. The advantages over a conventional turbocharged engine are not only clearly measurable, but easy to feel on the road.

Turbocharging typically includes intercooling of the engine's induction air, that is, cooling the compressed air that emerges, very much heated up by the compression process, from the turbocharger(s). Sometimes it's done with coolant; in the case of the N55 engine, it's accomplished with outside air. Intercooling is necessary to reduce the temperature of the incoming air to preclude detonation or "knocking" that can reduce power or, in the extreme, damage the engine. Of course, the N55, like all other current BMW engines, is equipped with knock control as part of the Digital Motor Electronics (DME) engine management system. On the N55 engine, the DME is now mounted directly to the top of the engine for better packaging and weight savings.

The significant loads and cylinder pressures of the N55 300-hp engine required the use of an aluminum engine structure with cast-iron cylinder sleeves. Altogether, the N55 weighs about 427 lbs. The 335i Convertible dual exhaust system runs at both sides of the vehicle. At low loads, a flap channels most gas through one side to reduce low-frequency exhaust "rumble." The 335i Convertible features an air-to-oil external oil cooler mounted in one wheel well as opposed to the N52's coolant-to-oil unit.

The peak power of 300 hp at 5800rpm has already been mentioned; this is fully 70 hp up on the 2011 328i models. At least as important is the fact that this engine can deliver its peak torque from 1200 rpm - not far above idling - to 5000 rpm. On the road, this power and torque result in outstanding performance. The 335i Convertible can accelerate from 0 - 60 mph in just 5.5 (5.7) seconds when equipped with the manual (automatic) transmission. The sense of urgency continues all the way to the electronically limited top speed of 130 mph (150 mph when equipped with the optional Sport Package).

Finally, the new N55 engine is able to achieve a more favorable emissions signature than its predecessor. The single turbocharger has only one exhaust path and feeds a single catalytic converter in place of the previous engine’s two. This means the exhaust gases are concentrated at the catalytic converter for better cold-start emissions performance, making the N55 a more environmentally friendly engine.

The 328i Convertible is powered by BMW's 230 horsepower, 200 lb-ft, 3.0-liter inline-6 engine, known internally as the N52. Its magnesium/aluminum construction and Valvetronic variable valve lift are features found only on BMW engines. The N52 achieves impressive progress on all performance and technology fronts, especially in its remarkably light weight of 357 lbs. An aluminum/magnesium engine block, hollow camshafts, plastic camshaft cover, improved combustion chambers, a further evolved Double VANOS , higher fuel injection pressure, sophisticated engine electronics, an electric coolant pump, a variable-volume oil pump and an oil/coolant heat exchanger are the other weight-saving features and improvements of this engine over previous generations.

Automatic transmission with optional shift paddles
A thoroughly enhanced 6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission is available as an option on both models to meet the greatest demands for comfort and performance. A quicker and more responsive hydraulic control system, together with an innovative torque converter and significantly enhanced control software ensure reaction times that are 40 percent faster than conventional automatic transmissions. In addition, gear change time has been almost halved. The torque converter clutch connects the engine more directly to enhance performance, quicken response and improve fuel economy.

If the driver wishes to control the transmission directly, paddles on the steering wheel provide direct gear selection when in manual mode. Because the gear shift paddles can be activated directly at any time, even if the selector lever is in Drive, the manual gearshift function always provides extremely spontaneous performance. Shift paddles are an available option on both convertible models when ordered with automatic transmission and Sport Package.

Innovative suspension technology for maximum precision
With power transmitted to the rear wheels, the rack-and-pinion steering remains free of drive forces thus able to provide optimum feedback to the driver and steering precision. Optional Active Steering varies the steering ratio as a function of road speed for a higher steering ratio at the same steering wheel angle at low speeds than at high speeds. This enables the driver to control the car even more smoothly and with minimal effort, while remaining precisely on course at high speeds.

Featuring a double-pivot McPherson strut-type aluminum suspension in front and a
5-link independent rear suspension, the BMW 3 Series Convertibles boast the most advanced suspension in their class. Further advantages are a low center of gravity, well-balanced axle load and special damper set-up to give the convertibles their impressive dynamic driving qualities.

The standard 17-inch alloy wheels run on 225/45R17 tires with run-flat technology. Even with a complete loss of air pressure in one tire, the vehicle can continue to be driven for up to 150 miles at 50 mph to get to the nearest service station. BMW's Tire Pressure Monitor warns the driver as soon as the pressure in any tire drops more than 25 percent below the optimum level.

Dynamic Stability Control: enhanced functions for peace of mind and driving enjoyment
The 3 Series Convertibles' highly effective Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) has been upgraded. The latest generation of DSC technology controls brake functions and vehicle stability on slippery roads by applying individual wheel brakes and reducing engine output. Enhanced functions of this system include:

  • Brake Drying. By lightly applying the pads periodically in wet weather conditions to dry them, optimum stopping power can also be experienced in the wet.
  • Brake Standby. Preloads the brake pads to enhance brake response whenever the driver suddenly lifts off the accelerator pedal.
  • Brake Fade Compensation. Maximizes brake pressure in extreme driving conditions for consistent brake pedal pressure no matter how hot the brakes become.
  • Cornering Brake Control. Counteracts unwanted oversteer when applying the brakes slightly in a bend and, in conjunction with Active Steering, can countersteer appropriately to maintain stability.
  • Start-off Assistant. Holds the vehicle for three seconds when stopped going uphill to prevent rolling back when releasing the brake pedal.
  • Dynamic Stability Control ensures optimum traction on loose surfaces, while Dynamic Traction Control can be adjusted to raise the threshold when it intervenes for a sportier style of driving, allowing light wheel slip on the drive wheels.
  • DSC may be deactivated completely if the driver desires. A new Electronic Limited-slip Differential function comes into play in vigorous driving when DSC is completely de-activated. By appropriate application of only the rear brakes while cornering, DSC simulates a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential. This has the effect of better apportioning power between the two rear wheels and thus improving traction in this driving situation. (Which is not recommended on public roads; it’s more of a racetrack or driving-school exercise.)

The convertible bodyshell: light and torsionally stiff
The intelligent combination of innovative and proven materials, as well as modern production technology, gives the BMW 3 Series Convertibles a particularly light but at the same time very stable body—BMW's body development specialists have achieved the highest level of torsional stiffness ever in a BMW Convertible.

Unladen weight of the convertible is approximately 400 lbs. more than that of the BMW 3 Series Coupe. This extra weight results from the installation of additional support members in the floor and the electric motors and hydraulic elements required for the retractable hardtop.

Plastic inside front fenders weigh 50 percent less than conventional steel panels. And unlike conventional plastic, the panels are made of a synthetic material and no longer have to be painted separately. Instead, they go through the regular painting process together with the complete body-in-white.

Deformation areas at the front of the car, together with other features, serve to help provide optimum occupant protection in a frontal collision. The bulkhead support is made of high-strength steel with longitudinal profile bars and reinforcements. In addition, the extra-strong luggage compartment floor and rear and side panels help minimize the consequences of a collision from behind.

In a side impact, forces acting on the car are diverted to the opposite side through the reinforced floor pan. The side sills are made of steel that varies in geometry for greater resistance to bending. Interacting with the doors, the seats and the instrument panel, the specially made components ensure maximum stability between the A-pillars.

The carefully-designed arrangement and dimensions of the convertible's load-bearing structures, crash boxes and deformation zones help to keep impact energy away from the driver and passengers. Restraint and support systems are tailored to one another and controlled by one unit to ensure proper protection for each occupant. The front and side airbags, belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters are activated by the car's sensor-controlled safety electronics based on the type and severity of the impact.

The side airbags are integrated into the seat backrests and inflate, in the event of a significant side-impact collision, over a large area extending from the bottom of the backrest all the way to the upper edge of the headrest to provide upper body and head protection regardless of seating position.

Extra safety in the event of a rollover is provided by the windshield frame that serves as a safety bar. Rollover sensors that constantly monitor all vertical and horizontal movements of the car can activate rollbars positioned behind the rear headrests. The belt latch tensioners on the front seats as well as the side airbags are activated within fractions of a second.

The interior: ample space, extra freedom
The BMW 3 Series Convertibles offer open-air driving pleasure for four. The front seats come with integrated belt systems and the center console extends all the way to the rear, splitting the rear compartment into two single seats. Thanks to their low seating position, these models offer generous head room. Access to the two rear seats is facilitated by the seat release lever fitted at the top of the seat backrest and the 2-speed fore-aft power adjustment switch.

Measuring 9.0 cu ft. with the hardtop up, luggage capacity is very generous. And even with the roof down, the remaining capacity provides ample space for additional necessities. By folding the rear seat backrest down, bulky objects can be loaded on the flat area behind the rear seats, without the risk of harming the upholstery.

The optional pass-through between the rear seat area and the luggage compartment makes the 3 Series Convertible ideal for the driver and passenger traveling long distances and for many transport requirements in everyday use. The option includes a ski transport bag that is easily and conveniently set up in seconds and can be removed just as easily.

Sun-reflective leather for cooler seating
BMW is the first carmaker in the world to use sun-reflective technology to mitigate temperatures on leather seating, armrest surfaces, headrests, and gear shifter. The process uses modified color pigments imbedded in the leather during the production process to reflect the infrared radiation of the sun in wavelengths of more than 720 nanometers.

This leather treatment is able to reduce surface temperatures on dark interior colors by up to 20 Celsius degrees (36 Fahrenheit degrees), and also offers advantages on light-colored upholstery, where the heating effect of sunshine is less severe, reducing the surface temperature by as much as 15 Celsius degrees (27 Fahrenheit degrees). All other qualities of the leather remained unchanged.
An accessory wind deflector was developed specifically for the BMW 3 Series Convertibles to reduce air swirl within the interior, even at high speeds. The deflector is fastened firmly in the rear of the passenger compartment by supports in the side panels and can be easily swiveled into position.

BMW iDrive, 4th generation: the latest graphics and controls.

  • New controller concept, high-resolution 8.8-in. control display.
  • Optimized menu structures, high-resolution graphics, expanded range of functions.
  • Greater convenience and more intuitive operation via direct-select keys at the controller, plus more Programmable Memory Keys.
In the 3 Series, BMW’s iDrive system of controls and displays is offered in combination with the optional Navigation system. In the new 3 Series Sedans and Sports Wagons, iDrive enters its 4th generation building upon this pioneering development, while making it more natural, more intuitive, simpler and more elegant in its functionality – and more esthetically pleasing and enjoyable.

More intuitive operation, expanded functions.
With the 2002 7 Series, BMW initiated a new direction in the control of vehicle features and functions; via a multi-menu color display and a mouse-like controller usable by driver and passenger alike, a potentially crowded landscape of buttons and knobs was supplanted by a computer-logic control path.

An overarching attribute of iDrive was the separation of control (via the console controller) and display (the centrally placed iDrive monitor). This basic arrangement remains; the controller has been further developed and the display has evolved markedly.

Positioned centrally in the instrument panel, the new control display sets higher standards for logical, readily understood menus and attractive graphics. The controller has been refined for comfortable, intuitive selection and activation of functions via standardized turn, push and tilt motions, while being augmented with new direct-selection keys for specific menus, plus more of the Programmable Memory Keys that were added to the system in the 3 Series in 2007-08.

Familiar and proven, yet now more useful: Programmable Memory Keys.
An iDrive enhancement recently introduced in various BMW models represents a further user convenience: Programmable Memory Keys. When first introduced, there were six of them; now there are eight. Lined up above the audio controls, these allow the user to capture and store favorite or frequently used functions (radio stations, phone numbers, navigation destinations for example) on various keys and recall them instantly. The stored functions can be as specific and detailed as a navigation map in the preferred scale or an audio balance setting. And because the keys are sensitive not just to being pressed but also to being merely touched, one can see the stored function on the control display by lightly touching the key. If it’s the right one, the user need only press the key and it’s there, ready to use.

High-resolution display, preview maps and full-screen images.
With its 8.8-in., high-resolution monitor, the new iDrive displays remarkably attractive images. It’s a system appropriate to the vehicle it’s in, achieved via up-to-date hard- and software. White-on-black menu lists; effective symbols and icons; contemporary graphics; and clear, consistent color-coding are among the elements that enhance not only function but also esthetics.

Menu structures, too, make finding desired functions easier. In the Start Menu, all functional areas served by iDrive are listed. Selecting a given item leads to its menu layer, where the options of that level are also listed. This consistency in navigation assists in orienting the user, as does the “stacking” of menu layers in the display. Visual assists further contribute to clarity. And if the user gets to a place where he or she didn’t mean to be, the Back key usually reverses the error.

User-friendlier Navigation.
This overall refinement of functionality means simpler and more enjoyable use of the optional Navigation. Full-screen map displays offer outstandingly detailed views of the geography; maps as well as specific symbols can be shown in 3-dimensional form. Selected points of interest along the travel route appear with near-photographic realism.

Mere input of destinations reveals the new system’s impressive capabilities. If the destination appears on a list in the system, a preview map appears as the user scrolls the list; this can help distinguish between places with similar or identical names. If a destination (or a phone number) needs to be entered manually, this is done with a new, circular “speller” that makes the entry go more quickly.

Convenient combination of voice entry and controller operation.
Yet, another iDrive innovation is its ability to combine voice and controller entry called Multi-mode Input. The user can go back and forth between the two methods, while actually inputting; indeed, voice recognition can remain active during input via controller and the user can modify an input via voice. Voice recognition – BMW calls it Voice Command – is activated by its function key on the steering wheel, and de-activated either upon completion of the action or by pressing the key again. Voice Command is simplified by visual display of the available commands, yet its capabilities go further in that numerous synonyms of these commands are also recognized.

This newly enhanced iDrive introduces a very significant step forward in the operation of automotive features and functions. Greater efficiency, improved logic and clear, attractive displays help define and advance the 3 Series’ unique product character. The new iDrive helps the freshened 3 Series Sedan and Sports Wagon create a user experience that is truly unique.

Unique and premium equipment
Offering a wide range of safety and comfort features, the BMW 3 Series Convertibles make every trip an experience in driving pleasure. To supplement the range of standard equipment, the newest BMW convertibles are available with a wide choice of high-tech audio, navigation, Bluetooth and telematic functions.

The automatic air-conditioning features, for example, enhance the convertible's comfort. Automatic programs for ventilating the car selected through iDrive are supplemented by another mode: in addition to the three stages - "Gentle", "Medium" and "Intense" - the driver can activate a "Convertible" mode whenever the roof is open. This reduces the influence of the interior temperature sensor on the ventilation and control. Instead, temperature control and lower intensity are controlled as a function of the ambient temperature and sun glare.

The Convertible mode is available only with the roof open. As soon as the hardtop folds back over the passenger compartment, the automatic air-conditioning will return to the program last chosen when the car was closed, the Convertible mode then being automatically reactivated when the driver opens the roof again.

Automatic Air Recirculation (AAR) optimizes air distribution to provide a consistent temperature throughout the cabin. The system is automatically deactivated at speeds higher than 50 mph.

The BMW 3 Series Convertibles - maintaining tradition, setting new standards
BMW 3 Series Convertibles have been known for their unique top-down driving experiences for 21 years. The first convertible based on the 3 Series debuted in model year 1987 and was the first open four-seater in this segment. Unlike many other of the open four-seaters that came afterwards, the BMW had a soft top that lowered completely beneath a metal cover to maintain its classic lines.

The beautiful style continued in the1994 model year with the second-generation 3 Series Convertibles; its large wheel arches and A-pillars slanted at a lower angle gave it an even more sporting and dynamic appearance. It was the basis for the first M3 Convertible sold in the U.S. market.

The third-generation 3 Series Convertibles were introduced in model year 2000 and continued the tradition of dynamic appearance and performance with its muscular shape and powerful engines.

All BMW 3 Series Convertibles quickly became classics during their lifetime. The objective in developing each model was to adopt the elementary qualities so typical of the BMW 3 Series with modern, trendsetting features. The new generation both honors the original character of these outstanding automobiles and sets new standards for future generations of 3 Series Convertibles.

BMW Ultimate Service™:
Providing owners with incredible value and peace of mind

The 2011 BMW 3 Series Convertible will feature BMW Ultimate Service™, a suite of services that includes the BMW Maintenance Program (formerly called Full Maintenance), Roadside Assistance and the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. BMW AssistTM with TeleService is part of the optional Premium Package or can be ordered separately as a stand-alone option.

BMW Ultimate Service™ includes:
The BMW Maintenance Program
is the only no-cost maintenance program in the industry that covers wear and tear items like brake pads and rotors for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. BMW owners pay nothing for all scheduled inspections, oil changes, brake pads, wiper blade inserts and other wear-and-tear items.

BMW Roadside Assistance is one of the industry’s most comprehensive plans available. Not only is it no-charge for the first 4 years, but there is no mileage limit. BMW drivers enjoy the assurance of on-the-road help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. This includes everything from flat tire changes, emergency gasoline and lock-out assistance, to towing, alternative transportation and even trip-interruption benefits. This service also includes valuable trip routing advice.

BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty: All 2011 BMW passenger vehicles are covered by BMW’s excellent Limited Warranty, which includes:
  • New-vehicle warranty – 4-year/50,000-mile coverage of the vehicle.
  • Rust-perforation warranty – 12-year/unlimited-mileage coverage.
BMW Assist™ provides the driver with services that enhance on-the-road security and convenience, for added peace of mind. The BMW Assist and Bluetooth® System is included in the Premium Package or available as a stand-alone option. BMW includes the Safety Plan for 4 years at no additional cost. BMW is the only manufacturer that offers this duration of service as other manufacturers only include the first year of service. The BMW Assist Safety Plan is a subscription based service that is subject to certain limitations.

The in-vehicle equipment for BMW Assist includes GPS technology and hands-free communication functions to deliver emergency and other services, accessed via buttons in the overhead or center console. The BMW Assist system transmits the location and vehicle information to the BMW Assist Response Center. A response specialist speaks with the vehicle occupants to coordinate dispatch, notify emergency contacts on file, and link BMW Roadside Assistance or emergency services as needed and/or requested. A severe accident automatically activates the Automatic Collision Notification function. The BMW Assist Safety Plan also includes Door Unlock and Stolen Vehicle Recovery services, which can save the owner time and money. New to BMW Assist is MyInfo, which allows users to send business listings and street addresses with associated phone numbers from the internet, directly to their BMW.

TeleService automatically notifies the BMW center when a vehicle will need service. A service advisor then proactively calls the customer to set up a convenient appointment and have the needed parts ready.

BMW Assist subscribers can also enroll in the BMW Assist Convenience Plan (available at an additional cost of $199 per year) to avail themselves of many BMW Assist concierge services, from finding the lowest fuel price or the best French restaurant in the area to information on flight arrival gates or times, as well as receive directions, and traffic and weather information. On 2007 and later models, a selected destination and its phone number can be sent directly to the BMW Navigation system (if so equipped) and the customer’s Bluetooth linked mobile phone, after a push of the Concierge menu option. New in 2009 was BMW Search, which allows those vehicles equipped with both the BMW Navigation and BMW Assist system to gain online access to the Google Maps database inside the vehicle to quickly find a desired business with just a key word. The Convenience Plan also includes Critical Calling, a service that can connect the driver to a requested party via a response specialist in case their mobile phone is not in the vehicle or its battery is discharged.

Lastly, the BMW Assist system includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with phonebook access and speech recognition for dialing by name or number via the steering wheel controls. Use of this feature requires a customer-provided compatible Bluetooth mobile phone. To learn more about BMW Assist, please visit www.bmwassist.com.

Performance with a conscience
BMW strives to produce its motor vehicles and other products with the utmost attention to environmental compatibility and protection. Integrated into the design and development of BMW automobiles are such criteria as resource efficiency and emission control in production; environmentally responsible selection of materials; recyclability during production and within the vehicle; elimination of CFCs and hazardous materials in production; and continuing research into environmentally friendly automotive power sources. Tangible results of these efforts include the recycling of bumper cladding into other vehicle components; water-based paint color coats and powder clear coats; near-future availability of hydrogen-powered models; and various design and engineering elements that help make BMWs easier to dismantle at the end of their service life.

BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car centers, 336 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 143 BMW motorcycle retailers, 100 MINI passenger car dealers, and 31 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

The BMW Group
The BMW Group is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world with its BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 24 production facilities in 13 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

The BMW Group achieved a global sales volume of more than 1.43 million automobiles and over 101,000 motorcycles for the 2008 financial year. Revenues for 2008 totaled EUR 53.2 billion, with earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of EUR 921 million. The company employed a global workforce of approximately 98,000 associates as of September 30, 2009.

The success of the BMW Group has always been built on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy. As a result of its efforts, the BMW Group has been ranked industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the last five years.

Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at:

Journalist note: Information about BMW and its products in the USA is available to journalists on-line at www.bmwusanews.com.