If a high-end drop-top is your desire, BMW’s 8-Series takes you there

Available in just two models, 840d (320bhp diesel), or 850i (530bhp petrol), reports Iain Robertson, the latest BMW 8-Series convertible marries elegance with sporting prowess in a display of premium-priced luxury, fine build quality and high performance. 

With an exterior length of 4.8m, a width of 1.9m and height of 1.3m, the dimensions of the drop-top match those of the BMW 8-Series coupé almost exactly. BMW has focused on exceptional body rigidity for the new model, which ensures that only a small number of additional convertible-specific and weight-increasing measures were required. 

The BMW 8-Series convertible cuts an impressive dash, with the roof either up, or down. Character lines trace the path of the airflow between the front and rear wheels, while tapered surfaces around the front wheels and doors spread out at the tops of the rear wheels. Discreet contouring marks out the surfacing above them, as the flanks transition into the rear end of the body. 

The compartment for the soft-top roof demands that the trailing edge of the car’s body is slightly higher than that of the coupé, although it still manages to appear extremely flat and hunkered to the road surface. In addition, horizontal lines and the light units extending into the flanks accentuate the width of the car. The high-level brake light embedded in the boot-lid adds to the low-slung look. Other model-specific features include a brace of contour lines on the boot, while the L-shaped tail-lights are underscored by the line of the taillight bar that illuminates across its width. Twin trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes round off the lower section of the rear apron. 

The 8-Series convertible is equipped with adaptive LED headlights as standard, although BMW’s Laserlight development, with variable road illumination and selective beam operation, is available as a cost option. The car can be customised further, with the Chrome Line, or M Carbon exterior packages. The roof is both lightweight and provides additional acoustic insulation. Opening and closing automatically, in 18 seconds, at the touch of a button, it can be activated when the car is travelling at speeds of up to 31mph.

When the soft-top roof is erected, it sits taut over the interior, thus retaining its coupé-like silhouette, without compromising the car’s outline. Finished in black as standard, or in Anthracite Silver effect as a cost option, the soft-top stows away neatly beneath a tonneau cover. In keeping with the rest of the car, it is finished in colours that complement and match the instrument panel and interior door/side panel trim and features eye-catching domes behind the rear seats.

The rear-seat backrest of the convertible model can be split 50:50 and, thanks to the through-loading facility, the capacity of the luggage compartment can be extended on demand. With the soft-top closed, the stowage capacity is 350-litres. As mentioned earlier, the performance is excellent, with the petrol despatching 0-60mph in 3.6s (4.9s diesel) to a restricted top speed of 155mph. Up to 39.8mpg is possible from the diesel (26.6mpg petrol) and list prices (pre-discount) are £83,295 (840d) and £107,100 (850i).

FCD Summary

Buying into class is part of the BMW remit and, while the 8-Series convertible is at the upper-end of the marque’s price range, high efficiency levels ensure that it could be a manageable prospect.

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