A month after launching its second-generation 8 Series coupe in South Africa, BMW has now introduced the fabric-roof convertible version.
Priced at approximately a R120 000
premium over the coupe (depending on options), the 8 Series convertible is
positioned at R2 009 589, for the M850i derivative. That purchase
price can easily be swelled when adding niceties such as a premium Bowers &
Wilkens surround sound system (R54 500) and an M-themed carbon-fibre
exterior styling upgrade (R51 500).
The convertible features similarly striking
lines and bodywork to the 8 Series coupe, with marginal differences in overall
size. Both 8 Series coupe and convertible are similar in width and length, although
the convertible is 1mm lower than the coupe, due to the slimness and structure
of its fabric roof.
BMW’s engineers have been mindful of
reinforcing the 8 Series chassis structure to avoid any loss of overall
mechanical harmony due to the retractable roof. Cross struts, an underbody
bracing system and pop-up rollover protection are all added technical specification
unique to the 8 Series convertible. The 8 Series convertible’s electromechanical
roof can be raised or lowered in 15 seconds, up to speeds of 50kph.
For those who revel in the having the
option to enjoy South Africa’s splendid open-top driving weather, the convertible
8 Series does feature some debits, compared to its metal roof coupe sibling.
The convertible adds 125kg of weight to the
M850 platform and there is a luggage capacity sacrifice too. Boot space shrinks
from 420-litres in the 8 Series coupe, to 350-litres in the convertible, and
that number drops down further, to 280-litres, if you want to journey with the roof
Powering the M850i convertible is BMW’s acclaimed
4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, boosting 390kW and 750Nm. Those engine outputs are
distributed to all four wheels, via an eight-speed automatic transmission and performance
is very potent: 0-100kph in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 250kph.
The convertible’s additional weight only
blunts sprinting performance from 0-100kph by two tenths of second, compared to
the M850i coupe.