The high-performance luxury convertible BMW has finally delivered

Rumored for many, many years, the iconic BMW 8 Series returned to the market in 2018 as the company’s flagship coupe. And unlike the first-generation model, produced from 1989 to 1999, the new 8 Series spawns a high-performance M8 model. As announced, a topless version was unveiled at once with the Coupe model, so the boys from Munich will finally have a competitor for the AMG-prepped Mercedes S63 and S65 Cabriolet. The M8 Convertible, like the Coupe, will be available in standard and in Competition trim. The standard model will put out 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of twist while the Competition version adds 17 ponies max torque comes on earlier.

Not only will the M8 Convertible arrive as a premiere for the nameplate, but 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 throughout its lifetime. 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 project. 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 merging, at last, into a production model for the very first time. What a time to be a Bimmer fan!

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 Convertible.

  • 2020 BMW M8 Convertible
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    600 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    553 @ 5700
  • Displacement:
    4.4 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.2 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    189 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

  • Aggressive Bumpers
  • M-Specific Add-Ons
  • Aerodynamic lip around tip of bumper
  • Carbon-Fiber Parts
  • Bespoke Wheels
  • Lowered Suspension
  • Bigger vents in the front
  • Quad exhaust
  • Larger openings in the corners of the rear bumper
  • Wider arches
left right

I was looking the other day at images of the last couple of generations of M cars and their more mundane counterparts. My thinking was, before doing this visual experiment, that M cars are less special than they once were, at least from a visual standpoint. The idea is that, now, all BMWs are more or less aggressive: the plunging nose, pointy headlight surfaces, huge kidney grilles, they all suggest that car is about to eat its unassuming pray any minute now. But this wasnțt always the case. Look at an E90 3 Series. Does that car seem menacing to you? Then look at the E92 M3. See? Now, that is a menacing-looking car. It’s also menacing for the purists because BMW ditched the inline-six for a V-8, but that’s a different topic altogether.

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843220

I got to see a couple of these 2018 MY 8 Series up close and personal, and you can’t say the M850i xDrive is a tame car. So what does the M8 bring on top of the M850i? Well, if you were an average passerby, you’d probably have a hard time telling the two apart. Yes, the M8 does have bigger inlets in the front and in the back as well as slightly wider arches and a few extra vents along the sides but, overall, the M treatment isn’t that dramatic.

In the front, you’ll find the usual M face. The main hexagonal grille in the lower bumper protrudes forward with its camera in full view - BMW isn’t one of those manufacturers that try to hide their sensors and cameras in plain sight under fake grille stickers, and that’s a good thing. There are two other inlets on either side of the main grille, each of them with carbon fiber surrounds over the outer sides. Below the main grille, you’ll spot a generous lip that slots behind the carbon fiber elements placed on either side of the lower bumper. This aerodynamic lip is significantly larger than that on the M850i.

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843240

Up above, the two kidney grilles are interconnected, and the frame itself is blacked out. The LED headlights with their twin C-shaped strips and the top horizontal strip look just like on the M850i. The hood is, too, largely identical with two thick creases that start from just above the top outer point of the kidney grilles and go back towards the windshield.

The M8 features a carbon fiber double bubble roof.

From the side, you’ll notice that the M8 Convertible’s top follows the line of the fixed roof on the Coupe. What you’ll also notice is that the M8, when compared with the M850i, sits slightly lower and comes with a cheeky vertical opening aft of the front wheel wells that features a horizontal trim piece for extra M badging. The M8’s profile, as a whole, is sleek although you can’t miss the bulging rocker panels and the sculpted door panels that are slightly pushed inwards to guide air along the sides of the car. This also makes the rear of the car look more muscular. The M8 comes in standard with 20-inch rims with a very intricate and cool star design.

left right
Now, while the M8 Coupe and the M8 Convertible are largely identical in terms of design (of course, the Convertible looks different with the top down, but that's obvious), the two differ when seen from the back because BMW fitted them with different trunk lids.

Both are multi-faceted and feature an integrated lip spoiler, but the one of the Convertible is shaped differently around the top, and the spoiler is lower and wider too.

Otherwise, the taillights are identical, those luscious elongated light clusters that you know and love from the M850i that look even better on this even wider bum. The giant openings in the back are underlined by massive right-angle creases. The number plate area is pushed inward, and it’s, thus, unmissable. Another thing you can’t miss is the quad exhaust, each group of two tailpipes sticking out from under the carbon fiber trim piece that covers the lower end of the rear bumper around the diffuser area.

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843229

The 8 Series’ soft-top has a lightweight design and provides enhanced acoustic insulation. It can be opened and closed automatically at the touch of a button, and it takes only 15 seconds to fold or unfold.

You can activate this function when the car is traveling at speeds of up to 31 mph.

It should be offered in at least two colors.

2020 BMW M8 Convertible exterior dimensions
Wheelbase 111.1 inches
Length 191.2 inches
Width 74.9 inches
Height 53.0 inches

Interior

  • Carbon-Fiber Trim
  • All-Black Upholstery
  • Bespoke Instrument Cluster
  • Sports Seats
  • Flat-Bottom Steering Wheel
  • New M Mode setting
  • Through M Mode, you can choose n Road and Sport settings
  • The M8 Competition also comes with Track setting
  • M Dynamic mode allows you to slide the M8 easier
  • Latest iDrive onboard
2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843192

The M8 benefits from the 8 Series’ unique cabin in the BMW lineup. The wide center console that rises toward the dashboard to separate the driver and front passenger areas is still there, but you do get a lot more carbon fiber trim pieces (and even more can be had if you start adding M Performance parts.) Most of the main control features, including those for the audio system and air conditioning, are 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 Z4.

The M8 arrives with bespoke graphics and dials, and the display is customizable, and it also changes in appearance (and regarding the information it shows you) depending on the driving mode you’re in.

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843184

Just like the Coupe, the Convertible is fitted with a pair of very sporty seats with some serious 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. Looking on from your seat, you’ll see the standard heads-up display.

Leather and Alcantara cover most of the cabin (where there isn’t carbon fiber) and, as we’ve seen from the launch images, you can have tan-colored leather inside with tan stitching if an all-black cabin isn’t what you’re after (you can also go for more wacky combos like Ivory White/Tartufo, Midland Beige and Ivory White/Midnight Blue).

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843213

Once inside, you’ll be greeted by BMW’s typical steering wheel and, to your right, the new knob for the automatic transmission.

The center console is where you'll find the circular iDrive knob with writing input (and voice control).

Overall, the cabin looks familiar to everyone who’s been in a BMW from the recent years, there’s nothing particularly special inside, but you may get annoyed at the amount of M badges or logos on the various screens that you’ll see.

Once you go into the infotainment system, you’ll find the Setup menu that, when opened, unveils a host of options: "The engine, all-wheel-drive system, and suspension all have three settings, while the steering has two. The gearbox’s three settings are controlled by a button on the shift lever, and stability control can be deactivated by a button on the center console. There’s also a button on the console for the exhaust tone," according to Car & Driver. The exhaust tone, for instance, is controlled via flaps within the pipes that control the amount that dictates how the air comes out for a noisier or a more quiet ride. Granted, if you buy a Cabriolet and you don’t go for the loudest exhaust note, why do you even bother to put the roof down?

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843209

The standard 11-speaker system in the 8 Series is swapped for 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.

Convertible-specific changes will include a wind deflector as standard.

It can be set up in the rear-seat area to reduce turbulence or folded to half its size and stowed in the trunk. BMW will also integrate neck warmers in the front-seat head restraints. as well as offer a Heat Comfort Package with a heated steering wheel to keep you warm when the roof is open.

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843230
The cabriolet’s trunk capacity will drop below the coupe’s in order to make room for the soft-top to fold.

When the top is closed, the storage capacity is at 12.4 cubic feet in the 8 Series Convertible, a 2.4-cubic-foot decrease compared to the coupe. In order to ensure the load compartment offers as much space and flexibility as possible, the soft-top compartment can be lifted, and the area used even when driving with the top down.

2020 BMW M8 Convertible interior dimensions
Shoulder width front inches 57.2
Shoulder room rear inches 45.7
Legroom front inches 42.1
Legroom rear inches 29.5
Headroom front inches 38.9
Headroom rear inches 34.7
Trunk volume cubic feet 12.4

Drivetrain

  • 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8
  • 600 horsepower, standard version
  • 617 horsepower, Competition version
  • 553 pound-feet of torque, both versions
  • Different torque band for Competition version
  • 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds (Convertible)
  • Top speed 155 mph (limited), 189 mph optional
  • Eight-speed automatic Transmission
  • Standard AWD M xDrive
  • When DSC is deactivated, you can switch to RWD
  • Could have more power than advertised
  • On paper, as powerful as the M5
2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843189

The BMW M8 is a powerhouse, and so it should be. It’s powered by the same S63B44T4 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 with four valves per cylinder that’s also employed by the new M5. In the standard M8, the V-8 puts out 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 553 pound-feet of torque between 1,800 and 5,700 rpm. If you opt for the Competition package, you get 617 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and the same 553 torque, but they’re available between 1,800 and 5,860 rpm. Despite the fact that the M8 weighs over 4,200 pounds in Convertible guise (the standard 8 Series Convertible weighs some 4,600 pounds), the car can still accelerate from naught to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds (3.1 seconds with Competition package installed) en route to a top speed of 155 mph.

If you forgo the limiter, the M8 will top out at 189 mph be it with a top or without one.

To put it into perspective the exact same twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8 is under the hood of the M850i but in a different state of tune. As such, it only makes 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque in that application. The power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

As mentioned, almost everything on the M8 is adjustable. There are multiple drive modes and multiple options for the engine response, the gearbox response, and even the feel of the gas pedal. The "integrated braking system," as BMW calls it, features two modes, Comfort and Sport, with each altering how much force the car asks you to use when depressing the brake pedal to actually slow the car down. These modes are available regardless of whether you choose the standard brakes or the carbon-ceramic ones. Anyway, The standard ones measure 15.5 inches in diameter in the front with six-piston calipers while the carbon-ceramic ones are slightly larger at 15.75 inches in diameter.

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843190
Changing between the 'Road' and the 'Sport' driving modes means you also change the look of the digital gauge cluster behind the wheel and when you go into 'Track' mode on the cars equipped with the Competition package, all driver-assist systems are turned off.

Having said this, you can enjoy the RWD mode in a standard M8 without the competition pack if you disengage the DSC. You see, the M xDrive AWD features three modes: the standard AWD mode that distributes power evenly between the front and the back axle, AWD Sport, which is rear-biased meaning that more power will go to the back wheels than to the front wheels. Finally, the RWD mode sends all the oomph to the back wheels for what BMW calls a "driving experience of singular purity for the experienced wheelman." Thank the Active M rear differential for that.

The chassis and the suspension of the M8 have also been beefed up and, with this level of robotics at play, you can be sure the CLAR (Cluster Architecture Platform) that underpins the 8 Series is pushed to its limits in the M8. BMW says that "the precise responses of the suspension and damping elements are partly down to the anti-roll bars’ improved rigidity." Also, for greater torsional strength, BMW fitted the M8 with "a tower-to-bulkhead strut and a newly developed, exceptionally rigid shear panel with integrated side sill connection. A steel X-brace and an aluminum transverse strut are fitted for an even more stable connection between the rear axle and the body."

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843238

While you may be upset that there’s no V-12 coming, take into consideration that the M8’s V-8 is probably making in excess of 660 horsepower at the crank since Car & Driver put an M5 Competition on the dyno, and that one made 617 horsepower at the wheels. That’s why Bimmer fans should worry about the S65 AMG’s 621 horsepower twin-turbocharged V-12, also because the Merc weighs some 4,800 pounds.

2020 BMW M8 - drivetrain specifications
M8 Coupe M8 Competition Coupe M8 Convertible M8 Competition Convertible
Engine type S63B44T4 S63B44T4 S63B44T4 S63B44T4
Engine type V8 V8 V8 V8
Induction Turbocharged Turbocharged Turbocharged Turbocharged
Cylinders 8 8 8 8
Valves per cylinder 4 4 4 4
Stroke mm 88.3 88.3 88.3 88.3
Bore mm 89.0 89.0 89.0 89.0
Displacement cm³ 4,395 4,395 4,395 4,395
Compression rate :1 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0
Engine power hp 600 HP @ 6,000 RPM 617 HP @ 6,000 RPM 600 HP @ 6,000 RPM 617 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Engine torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 – 5,700 RPM 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 - 5,860 RPM 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 – 5,700 RPM 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 – 5,860 RPM
0-60 mph seconds 3.1 3.0 3.2 3.1
Top speed (optional) mph 155 (189) 155 (189) 155 (189) 155 (189)

Safety

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843216

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

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843237

The BMW M8 will become the most expensive M car of all times by the time it’ll hit showrooms this autumn as a 2020 MY car. The Convertible starts at $142,500, $9,500 more expensive than an M8 Coupe and almost $40,000 over the price of an M5 which starts at $103,695. To put it otherwise, you can buy an M5 and a base model 2 Series for the price of an M8 Convertible without the Competition package. Want that too? Prepare to pay $155,500. In hindsight, this isn’t too much since, back in Europe, the Competition Package would set you back about $20,250. Of course, if you start cherry picking some M Performance parts the price will surge further.

2020 BMW M8 - prices
2020 BMW M8 Coupe $133,000
2020 BMW M8 Coupe Competition $146,000
2020 BMW M8 Convertible $142,500
2020 BMW M8 Competition Convertible $155,500

The Competition

Mercedes-AMG S63 Cabriolet / S65 Cabriolet

2017 Mercedes-AMG S 65 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
- image 659501

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 in 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 an 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
- image 617647

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 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

2020 BMW M8 Convertible
- image 843218

The M8 is bound to be a very competent car. We’re already hearing it can lap the ’Ring in under 7:30 and since it probably puts out more oomph than BMW is telling us it will, it’s bound to give an extra headache to Bentley, Mercedes-Benz and the rest of the premium manufacturers that offer big, sporty, two-door models. The only issue, as far as I’m concerned, is the one I’ve been talking about since the beginning: the styling. The 8 Series is already an ultra-aggressive car, and I don’t think the M package (with or without all the M Performance carbon bits) makes it look much more different over what should be, after all, the ’standard’ version. In the past, M Bimmers used to really look different. Now, they come with slightly bigger vents, a tiny spoiler, inch-wider wheels, and tires and that’s that. Of course, all the magic tricks are going on under the skin but, somehow, I would’ve liked the first ever M8 that comes to the market after a three-plus-decade wait to be a bit more dramatic. Surely, a V-12 would’ve helped spearhead the drama department...

  • Leave it
    • Stiff competition
    • No real legacy
    • Not that special looking though
    • Expensive when compared to M5

Further reading

2019 BMW M8
- image 843165

Read our full review on the 2020 BMW M8 Coupe.

2020 BMW 8 Series Convertible Exterior
- image 803295

Read our full review on the 2020 BMW 8 Series Convertible.

2019 BMW 8 Series Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 783784

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 8 Series.

2018 BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe Exterior
- image 772431

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M8 Gran Coupe..

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