A rear-wheel drive convertible with a folding hardtop and a diesel engine is very rare combination, however I am glad that I was able to find one. The BMW 320d convertible is a surprisingly likeable offering that turns heads but is easy on your wallet in terms of fuel consumption. Of course the sound of the diesel engine is not in the same league as a BMW straight-six, however once you get going it is barely noticeable, even with the roof down.
Compared to a 325i convertible the efficiency is superior and performance is only slightly down. The torquey engine allows effortless overtaking on the motorway. I get 7-8 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and around 5L/100km on the highway. Having owned both a 325i and a 320d, I must say that I am surprised by the performance of the 320d, saving money on fuel and I don’t have coil packs to worry about anymore. If you wish to have a little bit more fun, the paddle shift and Sports mode features are right on hand.
Convertibles are not known for their practicality, but I think that BMW did a great job with this design. Four people can fit easily and the folding rear seat and ski port are useful. My car is fitted with a ski bag and this allows you to load long and dirty items through without having to worry about dirtying the interior. I can even fit my mountain bike in the back seat once the front wheel is removed. The boot is also a decent size and the Comfort Loading function for the roof allows you to partially raise the roof out of the boot in order to gain more access to boot space.
The rigidity of the car is good, not quite as good as a BMW coupe, but still relatively solid. On a smooth road, the ride on the sports suspension is really pleasing, however on typical country roads and over potholes you will feel every bump. On Australian roads, I would say the comfort suspension would be a better choice with the convertible body.
Standard equipment on the 320d was a little bit light, but many original buyers would have at least ticked a few of the option boxes. It is definitely worth finding a highly-specced car with the Innovation Package or at least iDrive with navigation and Bluetooth audio streaming. LED daytime running lights were also an option and does give the car a more modern look, comparable to F30 models.
Overall, the car still receives a lot of compliments even though it is 8 years old. Luxury convertibles have that desirable wow factor and the evolutionary BMW design ensures that the car will age well. The quality of the car is good, with only the rubber windscreen trim deteriorating at this stage. That wind in your hair feeling never grows old!