BMW is set to crown its new 8 Series convertible line-up with a new M8 version with more than 450kW.
The M8 will go on sale in 2019 following the launch of the standard model, which is seen here officially for the first time ahead of a planned Los Angeles motor show debut this month.
Conceived to rival a number of existing upmarket convertibles, including the forthcoming Bentley Continental GTC and Mercedes-Benz S-Class cabriolet, the new BMW open-top forms part of a three-model-strong resurrected 8 Series line-up that also includes the 8 Series coupé and the upcoming four-door 8 Series Gran Coupé set to be unveiled next year.
The indirect replacement for the 6 Series convertible is planned to go on sale in December with deliveries due in around March 2019.
The 8 Series convertible will be initially sold with the choice of just two engines. They are a turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder diesel engine with 235kW and 680Nm at 1750rpm in the 840d xDrive convertible, and a turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol unit that delivers 390kW and 750Nm at 1800rpm in the initial range-topping M850i xDrive.
Both engines come mated to a standard eight-speed torque converter-equipped, ZF-produced automatic gearbox and BMW’s four-wheel-drive xDrive system. The M850i xDrive convertible also receives an electronically controlled rear differential lock – a feature available as an option on the 840d xDrive convertible.
The 1955kg 840d xDrive can crack 0-100km/h in 5.2sec, the 2055kg M850i xDrive in 3.9sec, and both have a limited top speed of 250km/h. Next year, the M8 will join the range using an even more potent twin-turbocharged version of the M850i’s 4.4-litre V8. An 840i is also set to be introduced as an entry-level version.
Predictably, the new 8 Series convertible mirrors the look of the new 8 Series coupé, with a bold front end and muscular lines. Its multi-layer fabric roof, which comes in a choice of either a standard black or optional anthracite colour, opens in 15sec at the touch of a button at speeds up to 50km/h, automatically stowing beneath a tonneau cover trimmed with the same slush moulded plastic as the dashboard and door trims at the rear of the 2+2 cabin. BMW claims 350 litres of boot capacity with the roof in place, which is reduced when it is stowed. To accommodate lengthy items, the rear seats split and fold in 50:50 form to free up greater load space.
A plastic wind deflector similar to that already seen on 6 Series convertibles can be erected to reduce wind buffeting when the roof is down, although it requires the rear seats of the 8 Series convertible to be unoccupied.
Despite its higher positioning, the new 8 Series convertible is 54mm shorter than the old 6 Series convertible at 4843mm in length, while its width and height is put at 1902mm and 1339mm respectively. It also uses the same wheelbase as the recently introduced 8 Series coupé at 2822mm.
By comparison, the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class cabriolet measures 5027mm in length, 1899mm in width and 1417mm in height while touting a 2945mm wheelbase.