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2010 BMW M3 Convertible Review

Muscle with a Capital "M"

A three-quarter front view of a blue 2010 M3 Convertible

In short: A race track-ready, uber-powerful hardtop convertible.

nless you're a bird, plane, or geeky reporter with a strong aversion to kryptonite, pushing the M3 Convertible to full bore with the top down — the wind in your hair, the blue sky your only ceiling — may be the closest to flying that you'll ever come. Using the already-agile 3 Series convertible as a template, the amped-up M edition swaps out the standard 3.0-liter, 230-horsepower 6-cylinder for a muscular 4.0-liter, 414-horsepower V8 engine that sends the convertible howling from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. The M3's athletic engine is complemented by advanced 4-wheel vacuum-assisted ventilated disc brakes and BMW's sporty M suspension for a ride that is not only fast, but also incredibly fun and responsive. Added touches such as sumptuous Carbon Leather trim and attractive Xenon Adaptive headlights are also included to ensure owner satisfaction and onlooker envy.

While the M3 Convertible was built with maximum driver enjoyment in mind, this race-ready convertible is definitely not for everyone. The endlessly adjustable suspension and shifting provide for a finely-tuned driving experience; however, the average owner may find the complicated mechanics to be a bit much. Additionally, the absence of creature comforts nixed in the name of performance, such as a rear view camera and heated seats, will be sorely missed by some. Overall, we found this Bimmer to be best suited for the track—or at worst, wide-open, fuzz-free highways. Although romping around town can be a blast with its quick handling and acceleration, exploiting the M3's ample power on city streets is sure to draw the attention of the authorities in a hurry. However, with the right roads and the right (perhaps racer's) mindset, the sky really is the limit with the BMW M3 Convertible.

Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000-mile warranty and full maintenance program; 12 year rust perforation limited warranty; 4-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance program.

Base Price: $67,050 / As tested: $77,225

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, rear-wheel drive, 4-passenger, 2-door convertible

Engine: 4.0-liter, 32-valve V8 engine with M Double-VANOS steplessly variable valve timing
Horsepower: 414 hp @ 8,300 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic

Curb weight:
4,145 lbs
Wheelbase: 108.7 in
Length/Width/Height: 181.7/71/54.8 in
Turning circle: 38.4 ft

4-wheel vacuum-assisted ventilated, cross-drilled compound disc brakes with floating brake rotors; ABS with dynamic brake control
Suspension: M suspension with twin-joint spring-strut front axle, subframe, front axle tie-rod and stiffening plate in aluminum; rear axle subframe in steel, track control arm and spring strut in aluminum and lightweight steel construction

Traction: dynamic stability control; all-season traction with variable M differential lock

0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)

EPA City:
19 mpg
EPA Highway: 29 mpg

driver and front passenger dual-stage front airbags; front seat-mounted side impact airbags; front passenger seat sensors

Likes: performance; good trunk space for hardtop convertible

Dislikes: gas mileage; little room for back passengers

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Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW062310 (Updated: 6/28/11 NW)