2009 BMW M3 Convertible

Andrew Trahan

The M dual-clutch automatic's gearshift lever isn't particularly intuitive to use; the movement between R and D is hardly natural, and the gearshifter itself looks and feels wimpy. Inserting a 414-hp V-8 M powertrain into a convertible is indeed extravagant, but when you're looking for extravagance, you want extravagance, even if you have to pay a gas-guzzler tax for the privilege. But when you're spending well over $75K, what's another $1700?

When I got home in the M3 convertible and alighted from the highly bolstered driver's seat, the top was still down. A-ha! I recalled that BMW 3-series convertibles usually let you close their tops while standing outside the car and pressing the key fob. But what button? There didn't seem to be one devoted to this task. A-ha! I remembered: you just push and hold the little round button labeled with the BMW logo that locks the vehicle, and within seconds I heard the whirring of motors, the tonneau broke away from its moorings, the various pieces of the roof unfolded and repositioned themselves, and the M3's top hat was in place. Why is this such a big deal? Because one of the joys of any convertible is ingress and egress when the top is down. When you leap from the driver's seat unencumbered by a roofline, you can then lean back into the cabin, pluck out your belongings, cast an admiring glance around the handsome interior, and then close it all up with one convenient push-and-hold thumb action. It's the little things, folks...

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

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