If it hasn’t been clear yet, the top of the auto market is booming. That’s how General Motors can report declining sales yet surging profits in the same breath. It’s also why you see luxury automakers pushing the envelope at the top of their SUV and performance lines.
Late in 2018, impressive debuts like the Mercedes-Benz-EQC and coupe-like Audi Q8 SUV hammered that point home. Average prices for these models will end up close to six figures, and the same can be said for BMW’s imposing X7 utility vehicle.
But BMW wasn’t done with its range-topping SUV. In early November, the automaker unveiled its first-ever 8 Series Convertible. Here’s a close look at the performance Bimmer that will turn heads, get the blood pumping on the highway, and clear out a bank account on the same day.
1. BMW M850i xDrive performance specs
As part of BMW’s M performance line, this model is built for speed. It runs on a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 capable of 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and all-wheel drive come standard.
The powerplant is enough to propel the M850i to 60 miles in 3.8 seconds from a stop, and the Launch Control feature will help you get there with maximum stability. This car’s top speed will be electronically limited to 155 mph (you’d have to check to be certain).
For better sound and responsiveness at the wheel, drivers can switch into Sport and Sport+ modes. Regular Sunday cruising will be best in Comfort mode, while the Eco mode has the difficult task on getting better fuel economy from the 4.4-liter engine.
2. Exterior styling
While you will find convertibles that can be caught looking awkward from certain angles, the new 8 Series model doesn’t have that problem. In the front, the downward-sloping hood and wider kidney-shaped grille lend something of a sinister air here.
Slim LED headlights in front and back freed up designers to focus on proportions, and it works well on this model. The sharp rear end continues the wide-angle effect and features hexagonal exhaust pipes. This model’s 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Frozen Cerium Grey serve the dual purposes of performance and style.
3. Interior tech and Driver Assist
The 8 Series Convertible will feature a few standard advanced safety features, including collision warning and pedestrian warning. A City Braking function with auto-braking comes with the package.
For the latest driver-assist tech, buyers will have to add on a package with adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go. What’s remarkable here is this model’s ability to handle the job at speeds up to 130 mph. Meanwhile, it will stop in traffic for as long as 30 seconds before automatically starting again.
Steering and lane-keep assist, along with side-collision protection, also come with the Driving Assistant Professional package.
A standard 12-inch digital instrument cluster and 10-inch center console screen checks these boxes, and BMW’s latest head-up display (HUD) also is included in the starting price. Back-up assist for parking comes standard as well.
4. Luxury in the cabin and at the wheel
This model has seating for four, and sport seats with Merino leather and decorative stitching come standard. To let passenger into the back, you simply pull on the leather strap with electronic assist.
Heated seats, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, 1,375-watt amplifier, surround sound, interior ambient lighting, and a leather steering wheel also come standard. The top goes up or down in 15 seconds flat, and you can send it in either direction at speeds up to 30 mph.
To keep things cozy with the top down, BMW includes a wind deflector and optional neck warmers. When sensing danger, an automatic rollover protection system engages to keep passengers safe.
With this powertrain, M performance upgrades, and interior flourishes, the 8 Series Convertible won’t come cheap. An M850i, the only announced model, will kick off at $122,395.
That may sound extreme (and it comes in nearly $10,000 more than the 8 Series coupe), but BMW sells more expensive cars. For example, the plug-in i8 roadster starts at $163,300 and takes all of 4.4 seconds to hit 60 mph from a stop.