The high-performance luxury convertible BMW needs to build ASAP!

Rumored for many, many years, the iconic BMW 8 Series is set to return to the market in 2018 as the company’s flagship coupe. But, unlike the first-generation model, produced from 1989 to 1999, the new 8 Series will also spawn a high-performance M8 model. Since we enjoy speculating on future models, we created a rendering of the M8 Convertible, a vehicle that has yet to be confirmed, but was spotted testing on public roads. So it’s safe to assume that BMW is indeed working on a competitor for the AMG-prepped Mercedes S63 and S65.

Not only would an M8 Convertible arrive as a premiere for the nameplate, it would also be a first for the 8 Series. Although it was produced for a full decade, the first-gen 8 Series remained a coupe only. The German firm did develop a cabrio and built a prototype, but it later decided that it was unlikely to recover its development cost and scrapped. The same happened with the original M8, which was axed in favor of the less powerful, but still M-developed 850CSi. Some two decades later and both ideas are set to merge into a production model for the very first time.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 Convertible.

Spy Shots

January 25, 2018 – More testing on public roads

2019 BMW M8 Convertible
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2019 BMW M8 Convertible
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With a release date scheduled for the end of this year, Bimmer is really buckling down to get the new M8 Convertible ready to roll. That means lots of testing, including sessions out on the public roads, and luckily, our spy photographers were on the scene to capture the fresh sports machine going through its paces near BMW’s headquarters in Munich.

Covered in a black camo pattern laced with white stripes, this most recent set of pics gives us a cleaner look at the M8’s fascia, revealing the shape of the headlight housings and their geometric LED daytime running lights, as well as the headlights’ top-portion turn signals. The kidney grille looks to incorporate wider intakes set with vertical slats, while wide side sills and flared fenders add to the drop-top’s aggressive demeanor. In back, we get a look at the lit-up taillights as well. A set of quad exhaust pipes round it off.

August 22, 2017 - BMW M8 Convertible caught testing

2019 BMW M8 Convertible
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2019 BMW M8 Convertible
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Exterior

  • Aggressive Bumpers
  • M-Specific Add-Ons
  • Carbon-Fiber Parts
  • Bespoke Wheels
  • Lowered Suspension
  • Concept-Based Design
2019 BMW M8 Convertible Spyshots Exterior High Resolution
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The bumper will have a slightly different layout, with larger side vents

Although we have yet to see the coupe version of the M8 in the metal, the standard 8 Series was already showcased in all its glory and it’s not difficult to imagine how the convertible version will look like. What’s more, the 8 Series is already available in M850i trim, which should be very similar to the full-fledged M8 design-wise.

The front end will probably be identical to the M850i above the bumper, including the same wide kidney grille and slim headlamps with sharp corners. But while the lesser 8 Series models have chrome grilles, the M8 will have it finished in black. An "M8" badge should round off the new grille design. The bumper will have a slightly different layout, with larger side vents, prominent surround fins, a bigger carbon-fiber splitter, and a wider center vent. The engine hood could also have extra vents and a bulge in the center.

Around back, the M8 Convertible will get a carbon-fiber spoiler and a sportier diffuser

The profile won’t change much design-wise, but the convertible layout will stand out above the waist. The M8 will probably get beefier side skirts, but other than that, look for small extra details like "M8" badges on the front fenders, black window trim, carbon-fiber mirror caps, and lightweight wheels.

Around back, the M8 Convertible will get a carbon-fiber spoiler and a sportier diffuser. The aerodynamic element will be flanked by two exhaust pipes on each side. The metal top will be replaced by a canvas roof that will probably retain much of the shape of the coupe.

Interior

  • Carbon-Fiber Trim
  • All-Black Upholstery
  • Bespoke Instrument Cluster
  • Sports Seats
  • Flat-Bottom Steering Wheel
2019 BMW 8 Series Interior
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The M8 will benefit from the 8 Series' unique cabin in the BMW lineup

The M8 will benefit from the 8 Series’ unique cabin in the BMW lineup. It might not be as intriguing as the concept car, but it has a fresh, modern design and it’s packed with the latest tech.

The M8 will get an almost identical layout, including the wide center console that rises toward the dashboard to separate the driver and front passenger areas. Most of the main control features, including those for the audio system and air conditioning, will be placed on this unit, with the remaining features accessible through the 10.25-inch infotainment display at the top of the dashboard.

The new screen is part of the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which also includes a fully digital, 12.3-inch instrument cluster that shares graphics with the X5 SUV and the upcoming Z4. The M8 will get bespoke graphics and dials and at least one more mode for sporty driving. Aluminum trim should be standard, but customers should be able to add carbon-fiber elements off the options list.

Just like the coupe, the convertible will get a pair of sportier seats with heavier bolstering up front

Just like the coupe, the convertible will get a pair of sportier seats with heavier bolstering up front. The front seats will also have a semi-electric folding function on each seatback for easier entry and exit for rear-seat passengers.

Leather and Alcantara will be standard like in most M models. Unlike the 8 Series, which can be had with a variety of upholstery colors, including two-tone layouts, the M8 will be mostly black. This might seem boring to some, but luckily BMW will also add M-specific features like sporty pedals, a driver’s footrest, bespoke floor mats, illuminated door sills, and lots of "M8" badges.

The standard 11-speaker system in the 8 Series will probably be replaced with the 16-speaker Harman Kardon unit that’s optional in the regular model. The fully active, 16-channel, 16-speaker sound system from Bowers & Wilkinson will be available as an option for the M8 too.

Drivetrain

  • Revised V-8 Engine
  • Around 600 Horsepower
  • V-12 Mill Possible
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Standard AWD
2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Drivetrain
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BMW has already revised the twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 for the M850i

M-prepped models usually come with impressive power rating, but BMW needs to up the ante if it wants to stand a chance against Mercedes-Benz and Bentley. With both firms offering in excess of 600 horsepower, BMW needs at leas as much or a smart power-to-weight ratio.

BMW has already revised the twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 for the M850i, which comes with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of tap. The engine definitely has room for more oomph and it should be too difficult to obtain at least the 577 horses of the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe. BMW should be aiming for an output closer to the 600-horsepower mark, though. All-wheel drive will probably be standard, which should help with performance too.

2019 BMW M8 Convertible Spyshots Exterior High Resolution
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The convertible will ride on the 8 Series' brand-new underpinnings, but it should get consistent upgrades

Word has it that the Germans could also add a V-12 version later on. If this happens, the mill could be sourced from the M760Li, which uses a twin-turbo, 6.6-liter V-12. This unit cranks out 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of twist in the range-topping 7 Series and should be capable of more power in the M8. BMW needs to counter the Mercedes-AMG S65 and its 621 horses here.

The convertible will ride on the 8 Series’ brand-new underpinnings, but it should get consistent upgrades, like an Adaptive M suspension, a rear-wheel steerig system, and an M-developed braking system with bigger discs and calipers.

Safety

2019 BMW M8 Convertible
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The M8 will benefit from the same safety and driving assist features introduced with the 8 Series. Highlights will include Personal Co-Pilot, a suite of driver assistance technologies that give the coupe semi-autonomous capability and standard Cruise Control, which features automatic braking function and Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function. The M8 could also get the optional Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go. Other features will include the Active Park Distance Control (PDC) with sensors at the front and rear and Driving Assistant Professional, which adds Steering and Lane Control assistant and Crossing Traffic Warning.

Prices

2019 BMW M8 Convertible Exterior High Resolution
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There’s no pricing information for the 8 Series outside the fact that the coupe version of the M850i trim will retail from $111,900 in the United States. This could mean that the M8 will start from around $135,000, which should place the M8 Convertible around the $145,000 mark before options.

The Competition

Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet / S65 Cabriolet

2017 Mercedes-AMG S 65 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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The Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet is the main reason why BMW desperately needs a convertible version of the upcoming M8. Launched for the 2017 model year, the AMG S63 is essentially the first ever performance variant of the two-door S-class, itself a rare gem the company’s otherwise rich history. Loaded with AMG’s slightly more aggressive body kit, the AMG S63 packs a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 603 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of twist under the hood. All that power goes to the wheels through a 4Matic AWD system that delivers 67 percent of the oomph to the rear wheels. The S65 AMG is pretty much similar on the outside, but a different beast in terms of output. Motivated by a massive 6.0-liter V-12, also driven by turbochargers, the S65 comes with 630 horsepower and a whopping 737 pound-feet on tap. But even though it’s more powerful, it’s slower to 60 mph due to being a RWD-only vehicle. Pricing-wise, these grand tourers are far from affordable. While the AMG S63 Cabriolet retails from $176,400, the AMG S65 Cabriolet starts from $247,900.

Find out more about the Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet and Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet here and here.

Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible

2016 Bentley Continental GT Convertible High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The M8’s second competitor comes from Great Britain and it’s pretty much a souped-up Bentley Continental GT. Powered by a 6.0-liter W-12 rated at 626 horsepower and 607 pound-feet of torque and a ZF eight-speed automatic, the GT Speed needs four seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, which should make it slightly slower than the M8 Convertible. The Bentley wins the top speed battle with its 202 mph versus the AMG’s 186-mph rating and BMW’s sub-190-mph rating. Design-wise, it’s looks classy, but not as aggressive as its German counterparts. Inside the cabin though, it’s loaded with luxury features and the latest technology Bentley can offer. As far as pricing goes, the GT Speed Convertible retails from about $240,000, a sticker that might just make it a bit more affordable than a V-12-powered M8.

Learn more about the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible here.

Conclusion

2019 BMW M8 Convertible Spyshots Exterior High Resolution
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It’s obviously a bit too early to talk about this car since the coupe isn’t here yet and BMW has yet to confirm a drop-top, but the M8 Convertible is a vehicle that BMW needs to build ASAP. With the AMG S63 and S65 already making big waves and the Conti GT Speed offering more performance than ever, BMW needs to up the ante and come up with a solid grand tourer with the option for infinite headroom. The M8 Convertible might not have any historic background, but it might be crucial for BMW’s future in the two-door luxury market.

  • Leave it
    • * Not yet confirmed for production
    • * Stiff competition
    • * No real legacy

References

2019 BMW M8 Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full speculative review on the BMW M8 Coupe.

2019 BMW 8 Series Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the BMW 8 Series Concept.

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