BMW has officially revealed its new 8 Series Convertible, promising that the topless version of its flagship coupé will offer a “full-blooded open-top driving experience”.
The new soft-top model is expected to arrive in South Africa late in the first quarter of 2019. Take note, however, that as in the case of the coupé, only the M850i xDrive derivative will initially be offered locally (the 840d xDrive is not destined for SA shores).
As a reminder, the twin-turbo 4,4-litre V8 in the M850i xDrive Convertible sends 390 kW and 750 N.m to all four corners, which in this instance allows a claimed 0-100 km/h dash in 3,9 seconds (two-tenths up on the coupé’s time) and a top speed of 250 km/h. An eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission comes standard, as do mixed tyres and adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers.
The four-seater 8 Series Convertible measures 4 843 mm long, 1 902 mm wide and 1 339 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2 822 mm, meaning its exterior dimensions closely match those of its hardtop sibling. Convertible-specific measures include additional cross struts, a specifically designed shear panel for the underbody and a rollover protection system (two aluminium bars fitted out of sight behind the rear-seat head restraints that extend by a pyrotechnic charge if a roll-over is deemed likely).
The soft-top will ship standard in black, but will also be available in Anthracite Silver effect as an option. It opens and closes at the touch of a button in 15 seconds, and can be operated at speeds up to 50 km/h. When open, the soft-top stows under a cover with a surface structure and stitching matching that of the instrument panel and interior door trim.
Standard equipment will include a wind deflector that can be set up in the rear-seat area to prevent unwanted air turbulence when driving with the top down. Optional neck warmers (with air outlets are integrated into the front-seat head restraints) will also be available. Other interesting options will include climate seats, a heated steering wheel and a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system (the vehicle comes standard with a Harman Kardon arrangement).
The rear bench can be split 50:50, with each section folding separately to offer a through-loading facility. When the roof is closed, BMW claims a load capacity of 350 litres.