Convertible is a Fun Family Car
A BMW convertible is always fun, but did you know that the 2008 BMW 335i convertible is also a wonderful PMS buster? As the 335i rolled into my driveway, I was already suffering from the dreaded PMS headache and stomachache, but driving it proved to be a PMS-lifting experience.
It provided the comfort I needed (awesome lumbar support and heated seats) as well as the sassy style that was so befitting of my personality at the time. If I felt a little punchy, the car said, "Girl, I can relate. Beat this guy when the light turns green. I won't let you down." Backed by 300 ponies and a zippy six-speed manual transmission, the 335i put a smile back on my face.
When I needed a little "me" time, the 335i quieted the kiddies with the awesomeness of its convertible top. They also had their own heat and air conditioning controls in the back, plus a few added compartments that kept them busy, but no door handles or window openers, so I could be virtually worry-free. I didn't once have to say, "Don't touch that. Stop. Seriously, I asked you not to touch the windows. Stop kicking the door handle. What if it opens and you fall right out?" Plus, the backseat provided plenty of room so I never had to experience their hyper legs kicking the back of my seat. What PMS? I think I might even put on my skinny jeans when I get home. Yeah!
For the most part, the interior is just lovely. There was plenty of eye candy, between the leather, metallic and sparkly-swirly gray plastic trims. I was thrilled that I could comfortably step into the backseat area to help buckle my kids into their booster seats. By moving the front seats up and pushing the seatbacks forward, I had ample room to move around and never once bumped my head or experienced an awkward entrance or exit. This ease of use made me happy even in my hormonal frenzy - finally a backseat that's easy to maneuver. The 335i that I test-drove had an added center console for the backseat. It provided many fun cubbies for my kids to store their juice-box straw wrappers in, but it eliminated the third rear seat. Fortunately for us, we never use that space anyway.
In my PMS-y state with a sore back and legs, I was elated to find that the driver and passenger seats were about as flexible as a contortionist - twisting, raising and inflating this way and that to pleasantly support any size and shape. As an added bonus, these supportive seats were well-heated. Picture yourself on your worst PMS day lounging in a recliner, clutching your most prized possession - your heating pad. The 335i offers this level of comfort for your aching mommy-bones. Ahhhh, I have to admit there were times that I sat in my driveway contemplating whether I wanted to get out of the car or not.
But you know as well as I do that nothing is perfect. This car does have some faults, including the seat belt buckles in the backseat. My kids normally buckle themselves in, but not in this ride, which is what led to me dancing around the backseat in the first place. You really have to mess with the seat belt buckles: They evade you at every push and resist clicking in until you're about ready to go to your happy place. This is enough to annoy any person, let alone one with surging estrogen ... or progesterone ... or whatever the heck it is that surges.
Also, the plastic portions of the interior, including the seatbacks, scuff really easily. After one ride, my little ones managed to make a lot of scuff marks in the car. You can clean them up easily, but do you really want to be doing that every day?
Another thing that really got my goat (yep, I just said that) was that I couldn't see the top of the speedometer when I had the steering wheel in a position I was comfortable with - 40 through 120 mph on the speedometer completely disappeared. "I'm sorry officer; I simply can't see my speedometer. I couldn't have been going that fast." To avoid this conversation, I drove with the steering wheel higher than I would've liked.
I also found the rear window to be far too small, which made it difficult to see much with my rearview mirror. I'll admit this is an unrealistic complaint; this is a sports car, after all, and small rear windows come with the territory.
Suh-weeeet! This car is smooth lines and sassiness on the outside, and it'll definitely turn heads - especially when the top's down. I don't know about you, but when I'm a moody mess I like the idea that people are checking me out. I realize they're really looking at the car, but let's not deflate my dreams, OK?
The dual exhaust, low-profile tires and BMW's signature sneering headlights added to the 335i's cool factor. I thought the doors were extremely long and heavy, which did cause some whining, but if you reduced the door size then you'd have to revert to a four-door sedan, and that's not nearly as much fun.
I really have no issues with the exterior. The hardtop has a seamless appearance and operates beautifully. My two boys loved the process of raising and lowering the top - it was like a little party in the Beemer every time. The car is so handsome it literally begs to be driven. It even offers bribes like comfy seats and sympathetic style. It's a true gem.
This is where the convertible enters into the family-car realm. BMW doesn't miss a beat with safety features. Dynamic Stability Control with Brake Fade Compensation can be switched to Dynamic Traction Control for maneuvering through ice and snow. There are many airbags, including front and side-impact ones, plus driver- and passenger-side airbag head extensions and knee airbags. But there's still more safety features, including four-wheel antilock brakes, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic headlights and Integrated Roll-Over protection. I'm starting to think one could write a novel on this topic alone.
What was really interesting was feeling some of these systems kick in. I was driving on the highway at 70 mph as I turned into a curve that had some of Michigan's notorious potholes. I was driving fast, but I could feel something kicking in that slowed me down ever so slightly. This kind of intervention would take some getting used to, because it does feel like you're not in complete control of the car for a moment. But, hey, if the car wants to drive for me, more power to it. This might save the world from some PMS-induced road rage. No, I don't mean just from me; I'm referring to the world's population of women as a whole.
*For more information on the 2008 BMW 335i and its safety features, visit Cars.com. With questions or comments regarding this review, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
Latch Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 4
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Excellent
Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Groove On
2008 BMW 335i Convertible
Base price: $49,500
Price as tested: $55,320
Engine: 300-hp, 3.0-L inline 6-cyl
Fuel: 17/26 mpg city/highway
Ground Clearance: n/a
Turning Radius: 18.1'
Cargo space: 9.0/12.2 cu. ft.
NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings
Driver's side: n/a
Passenger's side: n/a
Front occupant: n/a
Rear occupant: n/a
Rollover resistance: n/a