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10 Apr 2019

What We Dislike
It's going to cost an arm and a leg, but it is Singapore, so what's new

The 8 Series Convertible may have lost its roof, but that has done little to upset the car's gorgeous proportions and outstanding driving performance.

Thanks to the new number that has recently been revived, the 8 nomenclature signifies a powerful and admired place at the top of BMW's lineup and the 8 Series Convertible clearly has the looks and the performance to back that up.

After all, this isn't just any car, mind you. This is the 8 Series Convertible.

With its top down, the 8 Series Convertible looks absolutely stunning

It isn't fast. It's blistering

BMW's decision to make the 8er more of a sports car and not a grand tourer has endowed the car with the sort of performance that can potentially shame a modern supercar. And it isn't any different for the drop-top variant that you see here.

The Convertible is capable of hitting the 100km/h from rest in just 3.9 seconds, thanks to the sumptuous 530 Bavarian horses from the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 gem underneath its long, swooping bonnet.

Floor the right pedal and the car will hurtle to the 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds, accompanied by a provocative exhaust note

And although the century sprint timing is just a couple of insignificant milliseconds slower than its Coupe brethren, the fact that the 8 Series Convertible is capable of getting my palms sweaty just after 10 minutes of driving round the curvy roads of Portugal is the first clue that BMW is offering no particular compromises in terms of driveability with the car.

There is ample outright pace that matches the 8er's eruptive character and undeniable drama, which gives the car a special sort of ability that will enrich everyday driving and occasional speeding in a way that its rivals cannot.

The full-on vomit-inducing 750Nm of torque gushes out so instantly yet smoothly that the car's weight of over two tonnes is shouldered quite easily. Thus, the 8er Convertible's speed feels instant and accessible in a way that will very naturally force you to brake a lot earlier than you usually would before attacking a corner.

Round bends, the 8er Convertible holds its own almost too well, with perfect chassis balance and ample feedback

It isn't good. It's gr8

You could brake late, as I've tried, but a fair amount of pressure needs to be exerted on the brake pedal to ensure you shed off all that speed before entering the bend. But this driving behaviour didn't last more than three bends - not because it's tiresome to drive that way, but because the 8er Convertible is so mighty quick on the road that having the need to lose all that speed earlier than usual seems necessary.

Still, there's no denying just how dynamically sound and agile this car is around bends. Going in corners might just be a fraction of a second slower with early braking, but with its all-wheel drive system and grippy tyres (specifically customised by Bridgestone for this model) that bite the bitumen firmly and progressively, there's little fuss about how you can tighten the lines and explode out of the corners in a way that's satisfying and confidence-inspiring.

Sporty it may be, luxurious touches like a neck warmer isn't forgotten in this topless car

Driven thus, in the Sports Plus mode that we did, the 8er Convertible's engine is loud but predictably great in different depths. It sounds nothing short of epic at high revs, soulful through mid-range and crackling at lower speeds. It suits a modern sports car almost too perfectly.

Funnily, if you were to compare this with, say, the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, the 8er Convertible might just come across as a car that's less tiresome to drive daily with its front-engined layout and somewhat more predictable behaviour.
In the 8er, the precise eight-speed gearbox helps a lot in terms of predictability. It mixes smoothness with responsiveness in a way that's befitting of a sports car. It rarely steps out of your intentions and is often able to keep up with your inputs during hot-blooded fiery-styled driving.

The 8er Convertible soaks up bumpy bitumen well, sending almost no sorts of coarseness to the cabin as you drive

This helps amply, more so when you're so focused that nothing else seems to be able to take your concentration off the road. Nothing else but just the driving, even when it's a simple long straight road.

During these times, you'll also be keen to take notice of the fact that the drop-top BMW is able to soak up the broken roads as well as it swallows them. It's almost difficult to fault the car's ride on a micro level, given how it conducted itself really well on bits and pieces of bumpy roads.

It isn't premium. It's luxurious

On the inside, the styling is identical to that of the 8 Series Coupe. You'll still be getting the full-on luxury of a cabin that's covered with high-end materials and visual goodness.

Cabin is what you'd expect - luxurious, sporty, visually stunning, expensive to the touch...

Where the differences lie, other than the roof, is the smaller boot space of 350 litres (as compared to the Coupe's 420 litres), the availability of integrated neck warmers in the front seat head restraints as well as the Convertible's extra weight of 125kg.

The resulted weight is due to the lack of a solid roof, which means new underbody panels and extra bracing is necessary to keep the car as rigid as its Coupe brethren.

With its top down, there's a wind deflector available as standard. However, unlike an automatic one like most convertibles, the 8er comes with a manual wind deflector that can be set up in the back seat area, or easily folded in half and kept in the boot when not required.

The cover slides backwards, allowing for faster and quieter roof operation

What isn't manual, fortunately, is its roof function. In this case, it's about the construction of opening the roof that's very well thought out. A process of the cover sliding backwards instead of a regular 90-degree opening angle has enabled the 8er to have a much quieter and faster roof operation. In fact, it takes merely 15 seconds for the roof to fold, which is quick for a car this size.

It isn't just any car. It's an 8 Series Convertible

All in all, the 8 Series Convertible is more than a driver's car as we were promised. While many may argue that cars like the Lexus LC500, the Mercedes-AMG SL 63 or even the Porsche 911 are more desirable, which may simplify buying decisions - depending on your intended usage - the 8er is a well-rounded daily-useable sports car that is certainly up there with the best.

4.4-litre V8 gem of a unit is good for 530bhp and 750Nm of torque from the word go

It's arrival in Singapore is merely tentative for now, but should it come, it'll be at the end of this year and it'll have an estimated price tag of about $630,000, including COE.

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