BMW launched the F33 4 series cabriolet in 2014. It was a major rebranding of the very popular BMW 3 series coupe/cabriolet (E92/E93), which is regarded by many people as one of best cabriolets ever made. In this post we will take a look back at the BMW E93 and its innovative folding roof design.
We’ll also share some tips for maintaining the E93’s folding roof.
The innovative design of the BMW E93 folding roof
The BMW E93 was one of the best selling cabriolets ever produced by BMW. It was attractive to consumers looking for an elegant vehicle that was also practical and fun to drive.
BMW took a massive leap of faith by replacing the classic fabric soft top of the fourth generation 3 series cabriolet (E46) with a hard top folding roof system in the fifth generation 3 series (E93).
This new three-piece hard top convertible roof used a clever design that is capable of folding within 30 seconds. The E93 was also fitted with comfort access, which allowed the driver to raise or lower the folding roof using the key fob.
The folding roof is very compact, which gives the BMW E93 some additional internal space compared to many other cabriolets. There is plenty of leg room in both the front and the back, along with plenty of headroom.
With the roof up, the BMW E93 looks like a coupe with a smooth and perfectly curved roofline. The aesthetics of the roof aren’t marred with any bumps or obvious joints — it is a beautiful design that adds to the appearance of the vehicle.
A major benefit of using a hard top folding roof is that it is very quiet compared to most soft tops. This was a very attractive attribute for people who wanted to drive a cabriolet but didn’t want to deal with excessive wind and road noise.
Another exciting feature in the BMW E93 was its sun reflective upholstery. It allows the seats to stay up to 20 degrees cooler in direct sunlight compared to leather. It makes the vehicle much more comfortable when the top is down on a hot day.
Issues with the BMW E93 folding roof
Even though the folding roof of the E93 is very well designed, it can eventually suffer from water ingress issues. Once water has entered the cabin, it can damage electronic components or the internal mechanisms of the folding roof. If left unchecked, water ingress can lead to your vehicle requiring expensive repairs!
Having a leaky cabin can also give your E93 a distinctive musky or mouldy smell that makes sitting in the vehicle unpleasant.
Fortunately, most E93 water ingress issues can be avoided by correctly maintaining the seals around the roof. Owners should regularly remove any dirt, grime, tree sap, and leaf debris from the rubber seals and gullies that drain water from the roof. This will prevent any substances from causing the seals to harden or shrink. Clean soapy water is usually ideal for removing any gunk on the seals.
Cayman Autos has developed a very thorough procedure for cleaning and rejuvenating roof seals on the BMW E93. It is a labour intensive process that usually takes around 20 hours.
It begins with one of our technicians removing any debris in the roof gutters and roof drains. It is then a slow and pain staking process to clean and remove all dirt from the roof and boot seals – the seals must be completely clean before the next step. We then apply Krytox lubricant to the seals to rejuvenate them. It is a fantastic high-performance synthetic lubricant that helps to keep the seals moisturised and plumped up to create a good seal and prevent water ingress.
Finally, we perform extensive water testing to ensure there is no water ingress into the cabin or boot. We also check that the roof is operating correctly.
We encourage customers to bring their E93 back into the shop a few weeks later, after the seals have settled. One of our technicians will perform some more testing to ensure the roof is operating correctly.
This process helps to ensure the folding roof on your beloved BMW E93 remains in good working order and no water enters the cabin!