A convertible is impractical, expensive and cramped. The handling is also compromised. Dinzo Tabamo says: buy one if you can afford it


2009 BMW 335i Convertible review

A convertible is impractical, expensive and cramped. The handling is also compromised. Dinzo Tabamo says: buy one if you can afford it
by Dinzo Tabamo | May 14, 2010

Top Gear Philippines Car Review - 2009 BMW 335i Convertible 

The BMW 335i convertible has limited interior space for two adults and two hobbits; the trunk space is inadequate; it has a thirsty engine; and it costs P5.35 million. In other words, it's one of the best cars I've ever driven.

I've always been wary of convertibles. You can get the fixed-roof 335i--essentially the same car--and shave half a million off the price. Convertibles are fine in places with temperate climates and dry weather, California being the perfect template. But in our hellish climate, it's just masochistic to drive with the roof down.

I'd had this conviction until I saw the 335i's roof fold. And I marveled not just at how the metal roof broke apart and neatly folded into itself and down into the trunk, but also at how seamless the car looks whether the roof is up or down. You are essentially getting two cars--a coupe and a droptop--for the price of one. And they're both BMWs, of course.

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The spinning-propeller badge promised driving fun of the grin-inducing kind. And the 335i didn't disappoint. After I'd adjusted the numerous power settings in the driver's seat, it was time to look for the 335i's natural habitat--open roads and winding paths.

With the roof up, it looked and felt like a coupe. Except for a slight rattle on the driver's side, the insulation and lack of noise were what I had expected from a car of this caliber. At this point, the creamy torque emanating from the engine captured my attention. The award-winning twin-turbo straight-six generously produced 407Nm of torque as early as 1,300rpm, and caused the 335i to accelerate in a manner that belied its 1,750kg curb heft. The 3-Series is still the benchmark of sports sedans; in coupe form, it's even more potent.

I nearly forgot about the folding roof. I came to a stop and pressed the appropriate button on the center console. A loud ‘clank' signaled the start of the process, and the roof lifted up and opened up the evening sky over my head. It was unsettling at first because there was this feeling of being exposed.

I drove off and the engine distracted me again. With the top down, the engine's sound was more prominent. I floored the throttle and the tachometer zoomed to 7,000rpm, accompanied by the sweet sound of a straight-six at full thrust. There was a lack of high-end power, and I noticed the car's acceleration tapering off past 120kph, but I was grinning too much like a lotto winner to notice.

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In drives, as in life, you remember moments, not days. My 335i moment was driving down Antipolo one evening, with the top down and ‘The Great Escape' by Boys Like Girls blasting on the 13-speaker sound system. That moment created the kind of memory that stays with you--the kind you seek refuge in when you're having bad day.

That is the 335i Convertible's charm. It bypasses the practical reasons and goes straight for your emotional faculties. And it won't stop until it convinces you that you want it. Our advice: Stop resisting and start saving up.

Source: Top Gear Philippines, April 2009

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