Those Bavarian wunderkind over at BMW just took the wraps off the latest 3-Series convertible, complete with folding hard-top. But even as impressive as the range-topping 335i is, what with its twin-turbo inline-six hitting the 300 mark in both horsepower and torque, there's yet more power underway: an all but completely undisguised M3 cabrio has been caught undergoing cold-weather testing way up north in Sweden, blasting past Saabs and Volvos.

Like the rest of the 3-Series convertible range, the M3 cabrio will feature a metal roof protecting four passengers from the elements and retracting at the push of a button to let the sunshine in. As with all M models, you'll be able to tell it apart from its more ordinary siblings by the wider fenders, sportier bumpers housing bigger air intakes and four exhaust tips, plus of course the requisite M badging. While the power bulge pictured on the hood is reportedly fake, under the hood is where the action is, where the M3 will pack a V8 pumping out over 400 horsepower, derived from the award-winning M5/6's V10 but with two cylinders lopped off. Power will be put down initially though BMW's Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) until the Bavarians are ready with their own anticipated dual-clutch gearbox.

Insiders predict the M3 coupe to bow at Frankfurt this coming September, but the convertible version probably won't be ready before 2008. Expect to take a penalty in both price and performance for the folding tin-top.

[Source: World Car Fans]

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