BMW has introduced its new BMW 8 Series Convertible, the first soft top for the 8 Series from the German automaker. It joins the new BMW 8 Series Coupe in the carmaker’s lineup for 2019.
BMW has sought to deliver a vehicle that delivers an “impeccable four-season driving experience” - which perhaps explains the timing of the November launch of this convertible model, which will make its in-person debut at the Los Angeles auto show at the end of the month (it is expected in dealer showrooms in March 2019).
The 4-seat BMW M850i xDrive Convertible is powered by an updated 4.4L 8-cylinder turbo engine set within an advanced chassis; the powertrain delivers 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. 0-100 km/h acceleration time is around 3.8 seconds and it can hit a top speed of just under 250 km/h. The absence of a heavier hard-top roof means that the car’s overall centre of gravity is lower than in the coupe, a plus for enhancing performance and handling.
The V8 engine works in tandem with a next-generation 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission that boasts a wider gear ratio spread; paddle shifters are mounted on the steering wheel.
The 8 Series model’s stretched, low-slung silhouette is even more pronounced in the convertible version when it has the top down – check out our big photo gallery right here. That top is made of several fabrics to help insulate occupants from the elements, outside temperature and also noise.
The inevitable BMW kidney front grille features a hexagonal outline that widens towards the bottom and a single-piece surround that encompasses its various elements. The model also features standard Icon Adaptive LED Headlights with LaserLight technology that are the slimmest headlights of any BMW model to date.
At the back, the car’s width and low center of gravity are clearly in evidence. The slender all-LED rear light clusters extend deep into the flanks; the taillights illuminate uniformly in a distinctive ‘L’ shape. Twin, trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes are positioned either side of the rear lower section.
The roof can be raised or lowered in 15 seconds at speeds up to 48 km/h with the touch of the top control button located on the center console. Even when it’s tucked away, the roof manages to hew to the overall design of the model: the “double-bubble” contour of the cover behind the two rear seats mimics the design incorporated in the BMW 8 Series Convertible’s roofline.
The 8 Series Convertible comes with a standard wind deflector that can be placed behind the front seats to cut down on wind curling back to the front row of seats. And if the temperature starts to dip, drivers in that front row benefit from air outlets integrated into front seat head rests, which can even be adjusted manually (or else automatically, with air flow adjusted depending on the vehicle’s current speed.
The BMW 8 Series Convertible features a standard automatically activated rollover protection system, which activates the moment that data analysed by the central safety electronics indicate a risk of a roll-over. Two high-strength aluminum rollover bars, fitted behind the rear headrests, are extended by a pyrotechnic charge in a fraction of a second to form a survival space for the vehicle occupants in conjunction with the extremely rigid a-pillar windshield surround.
The centrepiece of the new 8 Series Convertible’s interior is the driver’s cockpit, no surprise. The car’s wide centre console rises up towards the instrument panel at the front, separating the driver and front passenger areas. This center space encompasses the audio control unit and its function buttons, the air conditioning control panel and air vents as well as the freestanding and frameless Control Display.
The Merino leather-clad sports seats are newly developed for the model, offering improved lateral support; they feature contrasting stitching. The headrests are integrated into the backrests and can be adjusted for both height and fore/aft position. The standard seats are heated, but buyers can upgrade to ones that are also ventilated.
Also standard is a 12-speaker harmon/kardon audio system with digital amp, with an optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system available on demand.