Turning coupe into cabrio takes more than a hacksaw.
Automakers typically try their best to keep the prototypes they're testing under wraps, but it can't always keep them away from our prying eyes. So some have adapted by leaning into it. Like BMW, which has released these official spy shots of its latest drop-top undergoing testing in and around Death Valley.
Following the debut of the closed-roof version, the new BMW 8 Series Cabriolet is slated to replace the outgoing 6 Series cabrio and slot into the Bavarian automaker's convertible lineup above the 4 Series (not to mention the new Z4 roadster).
Like the 6 (but unlike the hardtop 4), the new 8 Series convertible will feature a folding soft-top to enclose its four-seat cabin – collapsable hardtops that large having proven tricky and heavy, and fallen largely out of fashion.
To get it ready for the hot conditions in which it's likely to be driven – you don't buy a convertible if you live in Alaska after all – BMW has been putting it to the test in Death Valley, through Las Vegas, around Mount Whitney, up to the Rocky Mountains, and down to the Pacific Coast.
The development engineers even took the prototype to the Hoover Dam to put the car's electronics to the test against the electromagnetic waves emitted by the hydroelectric power turbines.
This after winter-testing it in Sweden and flogging it around BMW's Miramas proving ground in France and the Nürburgring in Germany. “Only when thousands of kilometres have finally been completed,” notes the manufacturer, “can developers rest assured that with the open-top model of the BMW 8 Series they are putting on the road a true dream car designed for the luxury segment.”