One would expect the last thing on a convertible owner’s mind to be fuel economy, but BMW has broken the mould by offering a drop-top version of its eye-catching 3 Series in diesel guise.

One would expect the last thing on a convertible owner’s mind to be fuel economy, but BMW has broken the mould by offering a drop-top version of its eye-catching 3 Series in diesel guise.

Released just ahead of the next generation 3 Series’ official unveiling, the diesel has more than enough qualities to endear it to die-hard E46 fans. On display at the Paris Motor Show later this month, a 2,0-litre engine powers the fresh 320Cd – BMW’s first diesel convertible.

Producing 112 kW at 4 000 r/min and a massive 330 N.m of torque at only 2 000 r/min, up to 295 N.m of torque is already available at 1 500 r/min.

Top speed for this racy convertible is claimed to be about 210 km/h. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, while the zero-to-100 km/h dash is covered in just under 10 seconds.

The 320Cd’s common-rail diesel engine passes the EU4 exhaust emissions standard, even without a particle filter, and comes with a few changes over its coupé sibling.

Although similar in many ways to the coupé, the engine management system has been changed. The exhaust system has been upgraded and final drive shortened while the suspension settings have been tweaked for the convertible’s use.

Although fitted with a range of standard equipment including six airbags, ABS, DSC, Park Distance Control and Cruise Control, opting for the optional Sport package adds beefed up body-styling, sports suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels to the list.