BMW's M3 convertible hit the Nürburgring in Germany for final shakedown tests before it debuts in Frankfurt this fall. Whether the car's retractable hard top adds any additional structural rigidity to the previous E46 soft-top M3 isn't exactly clear, but these photos do invalidate earlier rumors of a soft-top for the M3 convertible.

The M3 convertible is expected to follow exactly in the previous convertible's footsteps by being essentially the drop-top version of the coupe. What is surprising is that the convertible will feature the folding metal roof of the rest of the range; it had been previously expected that the convertible would feature a much lighter weight cloth top. No word yet on how the convertible will differ, structurally, from the regular convertibles or coupes. Certainly it will need to change a little in order to cope with the added mass.