Priced at R614 000 for the six-speed manual, or R35 000 more for the six-speed SMG sequential manual sports gearbox, the open version of the M3 coupé enters the market as an attractive four-seater sports car complete with an electrically operated roof, thus rounding off the M3 line-up.
Identical to the M3 coupé all the way back to the A-pillar, the M3 has its own character, the striking waistline and the special character of a convertible giving the new model an even wider and more powerful appearance than the coupé.
In terms of length and width the new convertible is identical to the M3 coupé, while it is 14 mm lower, even with the roof closed.
Inside the M3 convertible is largely identical in its interior to the new M3 coupé, with electrically adjustable sports seats in special M design with an integrated belt system.
Access to the two full-sized seats at the rear is facilitated by the electrical rear seat entry.
To allow optimum use of the luggage compartment with the roof up the M3 convertible, like all convertible models in the 3 Series, comes with a variable roof compartment.
All you do is move down a little lever at the side to move up the flexible compartment for the roof, luggage compartment capacity increasing in the process by 40 litres to a total of 300 litres.
There's also a folding wind deflector.
The roof of the M3 convertible opens and closes electrically at the touch of a button, electric motors taking over this entire job for extra convenience. The roof compartment lid, in turn, comes with a closing assistant, again with electrical operation.
Well-padded for motoring in winter, the roof of the M3 convertible features a heated rear window made of glass.
As with the M3 coupe the convertible version gets the new Variable M Differential Lock, as well as specially tuned Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).
Another feature carried over from the M3 coupé is the combination of light alloy wheels measuring 8J x 18 at the front and 9J x 18 at the rear and running on 225/45 ZR 18 and, 255/40 ZR 18 tyres. As with the M3 coupé, forged 19-inch wheels are available as an option.
The engine, too, comes straight from the coupe, a straight-six engine making 252 kW at 7 900 r/min and maximum torque of 365 Nm at 4 900 r/min.
The car accelerates from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 5.5 seconds, with acceleration from 80-120 km/h in fourth gear in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited).
Average fuel consumption is 12.1 litres/100 km.
Interior trim includes full Nappa leather upholstery, electric front sport seats, bi-xenon headlamps and a 6-disc CD changer with the top-of-the-range Harman Kardon sound system as standard equipment.