BMW Group Lifts The Lid On New Convertible Models At NAIAS

Detroit in January will not see too many drop-top drive-thru's, but at next week's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), BMW Group will be offering a glimpse of sunnier days ahead with the global unveiling of the new MINI Convertible Sidewalk and the all-new BMW 3 Series Convertible. Both cars go on sale in the UK in spring and both are set to hit the number one sales slots in their respective segments.

The new BMW 3 Series Convertible introduces innovative technologies and BMW's first-ever retractable electronically operated hardtop roof. The new model will be launched in 325i (£33,030 OTR) and 335i (£37,895 OTR) derivatives.

The MINI meanwhile continues the theme of introducing special editions within the range. Like the successful MINI One Seven, Cooper Park Lane and Cooper S Checkmate editions (8,000 sold in 12 months since launch), the Sidewalk introduces a package of design and content features that will set it apart when the sun comes out. Sidewalk will be available on MINI One, Cooper and Cooper S Convertibles.

The new 3 Series Convertible will be revealed at the BMW press conference on Sunday 7 January at 15.40 EST, with the MINI making its debut on Monday 8 January at 13.20 EST.

3 Series Convertible highlights

The new model's three-piece folding hardtop roof delivers the highest levels of refinement and insulation, combined with added security, better visibility and a greater feeling of space and light for occupants. The larger rear glass windscreen and side windows mean visibility is improved by 38 per cent compared to its predecessor.

Leather upholstery that features Sun Reflective technology is a world first in automotive engineering. Owners of BMW's latest drop-top can enjoy the warm weather and leave the roof down when parked for long periods without fear of scalding themselves on the seats or armrests when returning to the car. Special pigments embedded into the leather help reflect infra-red radiation, ensuring treated areas that are exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period can remain up to 20 degrees cooler compared to untreated leather.

MINI Convertible Sidewalk highlights

A host of design enhancements and accessories feature on the MINI Convertible Sidewalk, which is priced from £16,910 OTR. These culminate in a package that represents a 25 per cent saving compared to a regular Convertible model specified with the Sidewalk's list of standard equipment. In addition to the list of standard equipment, specification unique to the Sidewalk includes:

  • Choice of four paintwork colours
  • Malt Brown English Leather upholstery
  • 17" Night Spoke light alloy wheels
  • Bi-colour leather steering wheel and gear knob
  • 'Sidewalk' interior trim, floor mats, badges and door inserts

The MINI Convertible has led the open-top market in the UK since its launch in 2004. Its position as a firm favourite among convertible drivers was reinforced in 2006, with more than 8,500 models finding UK homes last year.

Published 7 January 2007 Melanie Carter

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