The 3 Series convertible is also known as the coupé cabriolet on BMW's website. It is the first model in BMW's lineup with a 3-piece folding aluminum hardtop roof, as previous and existing convertibles were soft-tops. The new convertible is also the centre of many new technological advancements for BMW as well as the recipient of many existing safety and performance technologies that have been improved upon for the new model. The new 3 Series convertible improves upon BMW's "Comfort Access" option, by allowing the user to completely raise and lower the folding roof by simply pressing and holding the respective buttons on the key fob.
Other manufacturers have since produced retractable hardtop convertibles in the compact executive (entry-level luxury) car segment, such as the Lexus IS C and Infiniti G37 convertible, to compete with the 3 Series. Although the 3 Series convertible is considerably more expensive than its direct rivals, it has been considered by reviewers to be better engineered, in regards to passenger/trunk space (even with the roof open) and driving dynamics (particularly weight and chassis rigidity). 
The M3 high performance variant of the convertible debuted in 2008, sharing the same powertrain as the M3 saloon (which also debuted for 2008) and coupe (released in 2007).
In March 2010, the convertible along with the E92 coupe received a refresh (BMW internally called "LCI" or Life Cycle Impulse) for the 2011 model year. The updates focus on modifications to the front and rear bumpers, headlight design, wider kidney grille, new colors, new leather and trim color options, LED Corona running lights ("Angel Eyes"), and LED taillights. The 335i's N54 twin-turbo inline 6 was replaced by the N55 twin-scroll single turbo inline 6 engine as in all 3 series models. Like its coupe sibling, the convertible also received a higher-performance 335is trim, sharing the modified version of the twin turbo N54 engine with increased output, and the options of the 6-speed manual or DCT double clutch transmission options. The 335is convertible has foglamps which the 335is coupe lacks in favor of a larger air intake dam.