BMW used the occasion of the international launch of the G15 M850i xDrive Coupé (see page our test drive), to reveal the second body variant of the 8 Series; the elegant new G14 Convertible.
A darkened and secret studio room was perhaps not the best location to whip the covers off such a model but, nonetheless, further imagery reveals a well-balanced design that shares much with the hard-top model, with a distinct look of its own.
The 8 Series Convertible uses a new multi-layer soft top that opens or closes in 15 seconds, and at speeds of up to 31mph. It's black as standard, but can be specified in Anthracite Silver. Operation of the roof is via a new switch located near the gear lever, which is where you'll also find buttons for the optional neck warmers, too. As the roof quietly, gracefully folds away, a neatly integrated cover behind the cabin flips up and latches back into place, creating an unbroken and smooth rear deck. The body line is gently rising too, retaining the Coupé's sporty appearance. However, with the roof raised, it doesn't extend as far back as that of the hard-top car, giving the Convertible a unique profile with a pronounced rear deck. It's quite attractive, and manages to avoid looking rear-heavy, as is often the case with these things.
Inside, the four-seat layout of the Coupé is retained (though the back seats are best described as ‘occasional'), as is the split-folding design of the rear seat backs. Behind them, the bodywork is subtly restyled to echo the double-bubble design of the Coupé's roof.
The windscreen rail is strengthened, there are pyrotechnically-activated roll hoops behind the rear seats and BMW confirms that extra structural bracing has been added to the Convertible. The net result is an increase of 125kg over the equivalent 8 Series Coupé's weight.
At launch in March 2019, the Convertible line-up will mirror that of the Coupé, so it kicks off with the 840d xDrive, powered by BMW's twin-turbocharged, 3.0-litre, straight-six diesel. Peak outputs are quoted as 320hp and 501lb ft, enabling a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds (0.3 seconds off the 840d xDrive Coupé). Until the M8 Convertible comes on stream, the range-topper will be the M850i xDrive. It uses the same twin-turbo-charged, 4.4-litre V8 as the Coupé, producing 530hp and 553lb ft of torque. It storms to 62mph from rest in 3.9 seconds, which is just 0.2 seconds slower than the hard-top variant. As there's an active sports exhaust as standard, that sprint should sound particularly enjoyable in the Convertible. Elsewhere, the 8 Series Convertible specification will echo that of the Coupé, meaning a single, well-specified grade depending on the engine.
The M850i gets a more sporting appearance, including Cerium Grey highlights and 20in alloy wheels, plus active, M Sport differential. Both versions feature mixed-size tyres and an eight-speed Steptronic gearbox as standard, along with Integral Active Steer and Adaptive M suspension. The 8 Series Convertible goes on sale in March 2019.
At launch, the Convertible 8 Series line-up will consist of the 840d xDrive and the M850i xDrive. With the roof raised, the new model looks quite attractive, and manages to avoid appearing rear-heavy.