It's hard to complain about driving top-down in a convertible on a perfect summer day, and it can't get much more effortless than doing it in the BMW M3 convertible. The single-button top control is perfectly positioned at the back of the lower console and there are no latches or hooks; just push the lever to lower the top, pull to raise it. It's quick and quiet, and bystanders find it mesmerizing. Unfortunately, there isn't a reassuring electronic "ding" to signify that the top is done opening or closing, something I've come to rely on in convertibles with power-operated tops.
The interior layout and material quality is typical BMW, minus the slightly downmarket plastic that surrounds the shifter. My only complaint is the absence of traditional cupholders. In two-seaters, where space is limited, it's completely acceptable to resort to dash-mounted cupholders. It's far less so in a vehicle the size of the M3 convertible. No, I'm not perpetually thirsty, I just need a holder for my cell phone and in most vehicles, the cupholders fulfull that function perfectly. With no cupholders and no other centrally located cubby, my phone rode home on my lap.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor