If you like luxury, if you like style, and if you like a car that’s going to get you from A to B without breaking a sweat, you don’t need me to tell you that BMW makes great cars. But despite building its reputation on high-end daily drivers and respectable family cars, there’s a lot more to this German brand than meets the eye.
When you imagine convertibles, your mind doesn’t necessarily leap to BMW. That’s a mistake. BMW has been making convertibles for longer than most of us have been alive. Not all of them have been world-class, admittedly, but there’s plenty more that are. If you’re feeling the call of the open road or craving the feel of a cool breeze in your hair, take a moment to consider these 20 all-time classic BMW convertibles.
1. BMW E88
First released in 2008, the E88 couldn’t have come at a better time for BMW. As cnet.com writes, the German brand had been having a tough few years – so tough, most motor fans were starting to wonder if they’d lost the plot. But then along came the E88 to prove everyone wrong. Featuring a classic 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine dispensing 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque, it offered an engaging driving experience with enough thrills to keep even the most discerning piston head happy.
2. BMW M240i
If you want a fast little plaything for the weekend, look no further than the M240i. The performance derivative of the Z4 is a masterpiece of aggressive acceleration, laser-sharp reflexes, and lightning-fast speeds. Slide behind the wheel and you’re in for a thrilling ride. With 2 doors, seating for 4, and a modest trunk, it’s a stunning little motor that’s fully worthy of your attention.
3. BMW F33
Want something sleek, something chic, and something just a little bit thrilling? Then cast your eyes in the direction of the F33, a 4 Series convertible that’s the very definition of style. With its sleek lines, sporty design, and roll call of fabulous features (sumptuous leather seating, ambient lighting with a setting for every mood, sports updated LED taillights, integrated lighting, sound reduction… the list goes on), the F33 has it all. Except for time. This year will be the last year of production for the F33. Despite having been a cornerstone of the 4 Series since 2013, BMW has decided the time is ripe for an update… something which brings us nicely around to our next entry, the G23.
4. BMW G23
The 2021 G23 is BMW’s latest all-singing, all-dancing addition to its Series 4 line up. Despite being relatively untested on the market, all the signs of success are already there. A classic convertible that manages to combine the appeal of the outgoing F33 with some revolutionary new features, it’s a stylish, zippy little number that makes a great addition to the 2021 collection. Features to watch out for include the very daring (some might even say controversial) front fascia with tall, upright kidneys, a sculptural silhouette, and some outstandingly bold inner graphics. If you like cars that make a bold visual statement, you’re going to love it.
5. BMW 327
As one of BMW’s better-known models from the pre-war era, the 327 convertible helped raised the German manufacturer’s profile to all new heights of glory. Sharing many of the same design features as the equally glorious 328, the 327 delivered a powerful engine, a lightweight form, and a level of comfort that, even by today’s standards, would be considered exceptional. Sophisticated, stylish, and streamlined, it was so far ahead of its time it made the other cars on the road look like outdated time capsules. If you wanted to show the world what a progressive, forward-thinking guy or gal of the 1930s you were, this was the car you drove.
6. BMW F12
The now-defunct 6 series was frequently criticized for its clunky handling, but the assessment wasn’t entirely fair. Take the F12 BMW M6 as an example. Introduced in 2012, the M6 F12 is a slinky convertible that was designed to compete with the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG. And it does – with style. Despite its bulk, it handles like a dream, taking even the tightest of corners with ease. And then, of course, there are its head-turning good looks – finding a convertible that looks this good with its top-down is no easy task. And that’s to say nothing of its engine note. All in all, the M6 F12 was a very capable all-rounder – and, since 2018, a sad loss to the BMW line up.
7. BMW Z3
If you ever found yourself casting an envious eye in the direction of Pierce Brosnan’s car in the James Bond thriller, “Goldeneye”, then prepare to meet the object of your desire – the BMW Z3. Small but perfectly formed, this nimble little number is great fun, packing enough power to keep you entertained and enough precision to make even the tightest corner a breeze. Crammed with a great range of features and blessed with a lightweight, aerodynamic body, the Z3 is proof that the best things really do come in small packages.
8. BMW M4
If you like the agility of the BMW 2 series but are looking for something that packs a more powerful punch, then say hello to your new best friend, the M4. This two-door convertible offers a supremely comfortable ride (at least for the passengers seated up front – those at the back may be in for a tight squeeze), great handling, and powerful acceleration. The twin-turbocharged inline-six engine belts out 425 horsepower while the six-speed manual transmission delivers a hefty shot of power to the rear wheels. No wonder cars.usnews.com has voted it one of the best BMW convertibles ever made.
9. BMW F23
Equipped with a 320-horsepower engine, rear- or all-wheel-drive, and a choice of transmissions (six-speed manual, eight-speed automatic, or seven-speed dual-clutch), the F23 is a powerhouse of car that delivers the same precise handling and easy enjoyment that’s made the 2 series such a popular collection. If you’re looking for something with power, agility, and speed (not to mention a very commendable interior layout), you’re not going to be disappointed with this little beauty. Although be warned – although it comes with a very handy back passenger seat, anyone over the age of 10 is going to struggle to find it comfortable.
10. BMW 507
Bmwblog.com describes the BMW 507 as one of the most desirable BMWs of all time. It’s certainly that. It’s also one of the straight-out coolest cars of all time – if for no other reason than the fact Elvis Presley owned one. Produced by BMW from 1956 to 1959, each 507 was built by hand to exacting specifications.
The resulting roadster was a sleek beauty with a curvy aluminum frame and head-turning chrome detailing. Its 3.2-liter V-8 with 150 horsepower and four-speed transmission was revolutionary by the standards of the day, punching out top speeds of more than 130 mph. The problem was, the only people who bought it were a handful of celebs and royalty.
And you can only sell so many cars to Fred Astaire and Prince Ranier of Monaco before alarm bells start to sound. Wonderful though it was, the 507 convertible went down in history as the car that almost bankrupted BMW. In the end, it had the last laugh though. Find one at auction these days and you’ll need to part with several million before you can bring it home.
11. BMW E46
If you want something that’s fun to drive and that looks fabulous as you do it, then say hello to the E46. Widely considered one of the best M3 cars ever made (and certainly one of the best-selling), it offers a sporty driving experience, head-turning good looks, and an exhaust note that could make even the most hardcore pistonhead feel a little faint. Wide fenders, special side skirts, and a modified front apron improve its aerodynamics (while looking mighty fetching in the process), while the Gurney flap at the rear gives you enough traction to take a fast corner like a pro. The 3.2-liter S54B32 engine delivers 343 hp peak power (252 kW) and 365 Nm torque – unsurprisingly, it also managed to scoop 8 prestigious ‘Engine of the Year’ awards.
12. BMW Z4 sDrive30i
The Z4 sDrive30i is a suave proposition with muscular proportions, dynamic performance, and enough authority to make lesser cars step to one side. Its stellar engine dishes out 255 hp and enough power to get you from 0 to 60 in just 5.2 seconds. The interior boasts refined styling and plenty of luxury. If you want a car capable of delivering thrills and spills aplenty, you’re not going to be disappointed in this timeless roadster.
13. BMW M850i
The M850i has always been a great car, but the 2021 upgrade takes it to all new heights. As carbuzz.com writes, among the very welcome list of new features are SiriusXM with 360L and lane departure warning. An outstanding eight-speed automatic transmission, two equally worthy engine options, a plush interior, and mind-blowing top speeds complete the very pretty picture.
14. BMW M8
Although the M850i is a great car (and certainly one worthy enough of a place on our list) it’s the M8, it’s 8 series sibling, that’s going to blow you away the most. Caranddriver.com describes it as a “bully among boulevard cruisers”. It’s not hard to see why. With its rippling physique, its mammoth power, and its frankly intimidating engine, the M8 kicks sand in the face of lesser mortals. But despite its aggressive attitude, the M8 is actually a friendly enough daily ride with a comfortable interior and easy-going handling. Capable, efficient, and with a family-friendly quality that betrays its badass style, the M8 showcases exactly what makes the German brand so desirable.
15. BMW i8
As edmunds.com writes, the BMW i8 has all of the prerequisites for supercar status: funky flip-up doors (admittedly, they’re not the easiest to operate. But who cares? They’re cool), a carbon fiber body, laser headlights, a unique powertrain, and the kind of interior that’s going to leave you speechless. Slip into an ivory perforated leather seat, and we guarantee you’ll never want to leave. Best of all, it’s a hybrid – perfect for polishing up your eco-credentials.
16. BMW 230i
It might lack some of the power of the M variant, but there’s no denying the 230i 2 Series Convertible offers a thrilling ride. Trotting out 248 ponies and 258 lb.-ft of torque, it’s packed with a very impressive list of features (expect parking sensors, selectable drive modes, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front sport seats, driver-seat memory functions, an infotainment screen, and a seven-speaker sound system) together with enough advanced safety features (forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning and a drowsy driver warning system) to keep the risk-averse happy. Slick, stylish, and just a tiny bit sexy, driving with the top down has rarely looked so good.
17. BMW Z8
As topgear.com writes, the Z8 was a retro-styled convertible that managed to pay homage to the past while still keeping its sights firmly set on the future. Decked out with a faultless array of modern tech and boasting the kind of proportions that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a 1950s model, the Z8 was a classic sports car that for a brief time, was the height of desirability. Unfortunately, even the best sounding engine BMW has ever produced wasn’t enough to save it from the passage of time. When the clock struck 2003, the Z8’s brief but glorious reign was over.
18. BMW Z4 M
Packed to the brim with performance-enhancing goodies and offering up a smorgasbord of techy wonders, the BMW Z4 M is a fast, furious motor with dashing good looks and a specification to match. The 2-liter inline-6 engine is a smooth, high revving powerhouse capable of dishing out 330 horsepower. In contrast to the standard Z4, the M’s six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential deliver an almighty thrust to the rear wheels that’ll please even the most power-hungry piston head. Quick acceleration and laser-sharp reflexes complete the outstanding driving experience.
19. BMW 650i xDrive
With its 4.4-liter V8 gas engine and 8-speed automatic transmission, the 650i xDrive is phenomenal to drive. Space at the rear may be at a premium, but upfront, expect luxury accommodation and plenty of stylish finishes. Athletic, surprisingly muscular, and packed with enough features to keep even the most discriminating customer happy, it’s a heavyweight contender that’s well deserving of a place among the best BMW convertibles of all time.
20. BMW 840i
The 2021 BMW 840i Convertible is a car with grace, style, and the power to get from 0-60 mph in just 5 seconds. A smart car delivering intuitive handling, a smooth ride, and enough technology to suit even the biggest geek on the block, it’s a fabulous addition to the 8 series and proof positive that when it comes to delivering the goods, BMW has it covered.
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