The 8 Series goes topless for the first time ever and will come with 523 hp when it arrives next March in M850i xDrive trim.
After a nearly 20-year hiatus, the BMW 8 Series is finally back. The Coupe broke cover at Le Mans back in July, and now, for the first time in the model's history, the gorgeous grand-tourer is dropping its top. Presenting the BMW 8 Series Convertible, which retains the coupe's elegant looks and sporty driving dynamics. Considering we've already seen uncamouflaged prototypes and leaked patent images of the convertible sports car, it's safe to say this is one of BMW's worst kept secrets.
As we already saw from the leaked images, the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible features a fully-electric soft-top roof that helps reduce weight from the very top of the vehicle when raised, lowering the center of gravity and improving handling and performance.
When lowered, the fabric top is stored under a classy cover with a surface finish and stitching matching the instrument panel and interior door and side panel trim. The subtle "double-bubble" contour of the cover behind the two rear seats apes the design incorporated in the BMW 8 Series Convertible's roofline. It takes just 15 seconds to raise or lower the roof at speeds up to 30 mph using the top control button located on the center console.
A standard wind deflector can be positioned behind the front seats to further enhance the passenger space, which can be folded and stored in the trunk when not in use. Optional neck warmers integrated into the front-seat headrests are also available, allowing occupants to enjoy open-top thrills in cooler temperatures. For added safety, the BMW 8 Series Convertible features a rollover protection system that activates when data analyzed by the central safety electronics indicate a risk of a roll-over. When activated, two high-strength aluminum rollover bars fitted behind the rear headrests are extended.
Inside, the driver-focused interior includes a leather M Sport steering wheel with multifunction buttons and shift paddles, along with newly developed sport seats finished in premium Merino Individual leather offering excellent comfort for long-distance journeys.
The rear backrest has a 50:50 split design and can be folded down either individually or together to further increase cargo capacity. Climate seats for the driver and front passenger are available as an upgrade to the standard heated seats. As standard, you also get a Harman Kardon audio system comprising of twelve speakers and a digital amplifier. This can be upgraded to a 1,375-watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with 12 partly illuminated speakers.
Behind the steering wheel is a high-resolution instrument cluster with a 12.3-inch screen and a 10.25-inch control display incorporating the automaker's new iDrive system with the new touch-operated BMW Operating System.
Like its fixed-roof sibling, the US-spec BMW 8 Series Convertible will only be sold in M850i xDrive trim initially. Under the hood is an upgraded 4.4-liter V8 that sends 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The V8 unit is paired with an updated eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers comes as standard, providing sharp handling.
0-62 mph takes 3.8 seconds before the 8 Series Convertible tops out at 155 mph. Despite the extra weight the Convertible carries to increase rigidity, the 0-62 mph sprint is only 0.2 seconds slower than the 8 Series Coupe.
Sales of the 2019 BMW 8 Series Convertible will begin next March after it makes its public debut at the LA Auto Show later this month. Prices will start at $121,400 plus a $995 destination charge, making it $9,500 more expensive than the Coupe. In the same year, BMW will launch an 8 Series Gran Coupe, and, eventually, the first-ever full-fat M8.