BMW fans have been waiting a long time for a proper M Division variant of an 8 Series. Today is the day they finally got one. Actually, they got two. Not only did an actual BMW M8 make its official debut for the first time today but a second, drop-top variant is also debuting alongside it — the BMW M8 Convertible.
Pricing for the new 2020 M8 Coupe is $133,000 and $146,000 for the M8 Competition Coupe. The 2020 M8 Convertible MSRP is $142,500 and $155,500 for the M8 Competition Convertible. Pricing does not include $995 Destination.
Mechanically, both the BMW M8 Coupe and Convertible are essentially the same. So they get the same styling, the same powertrain, the same all-wheel drive system and the same everything, really. The biggest difference between the two is the fact that the M8 Convertible is a touch heavier, as it replaces a fixed carbon-fiber roof with a folding power soft-top.
Under the hood is the same 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8 as the M8 Coupe. That means it makes 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. According to BMW, the M8 Convertible can rocket to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 3.4 seconds. However, like the BMW M5, we suspect it will be quicker than its claimed time suggests. It might not break into the 2-second range, like the M5 does and M8 probably will, that’s only because its slightly extra weight from its convertible top might hold it back. Still, nailing 60 mph in the low three-second range with the wind in your hair is plenty fast enough.
If it’s not fast enough for you, a BMW M8 Competition Convertible will be available as well. That will make 625 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, just like its Coupe sibling, and will shed about a tenth of a second off of its claimed 0-62 mph time, doing it in about 3.3 seconds. Again, we suspect it will be quicker in the rear world.
Just like the BMW M8 Coupe, the Convertible will get an eight-speed automatic transmission as its only option and it will power all four wheels. The xDrive all-wheel drive system is similar to the one in the BMW M5, in that it’s very rear bias but also has the ability to switch to solely rear-wheel drive. In default ‘4WD’ mode, the xDrive system sends most of the power to the rear until it detects slip and then uses the front axle to sort things out. A sportier ‘4WD Sport’ mode allows a bit more fun, and a bit more slip-angle, before reining everything back in with the front wheels. Finally, a ‘2WD’ mode switches the front axle off, as well as DSC, entirely, leaving drivers to manage 600 rampaging horses with just the two rear tires. In a convertible. Imagine the smell of tire smoke in a rear-wheel drive, 600 hp BMW M8 Convertible.
To slow all of that down, the BMW M8 Convertible gets quite large brakes. Up front, 395 millimeter rotors are squeezed by six-piston fixed calipers, while the rear axle uses 380 millimeter rotors and single-piston floating calipers. If you opt for the M Carbon Ceramic brake package, the rotors are replaced with 400 millimeter carbon discs up from and 380 millimeter carbon discs out back.
A new technology for the BMW M8 is the brand’s new integrated braking system. It’s a brake-by-wire setup that uses a vacuum-free brake booster and an electronic actuator to control braking forces. This makes the system not only more accurate but also lighter. It also reduces and sort of change in pedal feel due to wet conditions, allowing for a more consistent pedal feel. There are also two modes for the brake pedal, Comfort and Sport, which allow the driver to choose what sort of brake pedal feel they’d like and when they’d want it.
As for the steering, the BMW M8 Convertible also gets the M Division’s new Servotronic variable steering rack. That means speed-sensitive power assistance along with a variable ratio combine to allow for the exact combination of steering weight and accuracy for every situation. While the thought of variable steering racks still sends shivers down the spine of BMW enthusiasts fearful of vague steering, if the M5 is any indication, the M8’s steering will be very good.
However, the BMW M8 Competition will be tuned uniquely. Its steering, suspension and chassis are slightly sharper and more dialed in than the standard car, designed to give it an edgier, racier feel. To do so, BMW M has given the M8 Competition increased camber at the front axle, toe-link ball-joints instead of rubber bushings and even stiffer engine mounts. All to increase stiffness and chassis communication. Adaptive dampers are as-standard equipment on both cars, with the usual Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes.
Much like the M8 Coupe, the M8 Convertible’s double-wishbone front suspension and a five-link rear axle have been designed with bespoke kinematic and elastokinematics, unique from its other 8 Series siblings. It’s also been given a stiffer anti-roll bar at the rear and both a steel X-brace and an aluminum transverse strut, for increases rigidity. While both the Coupe and Convertible get that extra bracing, it’s worth noting that the Convertible needs it far more, do to its lack of fixed roof.
Speaking of that roof, the convertible roof for the drop-top M8 is a fabric soft-top. That’s not entirely surprising, considering the M6 Convertible was a soft-top as well, it’s still worth noting. The fabric roof on the M8 Convertible can open or close in just 15 seconds and can be operated at up to 31 mph.
When the roof is closed, it does a decent of keeping its coupe-like profile. A lot of convertibles tend to look a bit off with their tops up. The M8 Convertible looks good with its top up, though. Of course, it looks better with its top down, and is actually really pretty with its top down, so it’s best to let the open air in. Plus, when the top is down, you get to hear that superb V8 soundtrack while also getting an additional 62 miles of headroom.
Its exterior gets most of the same visual changes as its fixed-roof sibling. So it gets the same M-style side mirrors and the same front fascia with the same lower front lip. The only real difference, aside from the folding roof of course, is the rear spoiler, which is much smaller on the M8 Convertible than it is on the Coupe.
On the inside, the M8 Convertible gets the same new interior as the Coupe. So new sport seats with diamond-esque inserts (a pattern that continues on the door panels), and contrast stitching. The bi-color color schemes also look really good. The same new shift lever as the Coupe replaces the M-style shifter seen in the BMW M5 and X3 M, for the better in our opinion. Its wrapped in black leather with contrast red stitching and just looks more premium than any other BMW shift lever. Carbon fiber trim and red accents adorn the rest of the cabin and just add some extra sportiness to the standard 8 Series cabin, while the new M-style screen adds a new edge to the digital instrument panel.
Overall, the BMW M8 Convertible looks fantastic and has one helluva good recipe for an exciting performance convertible. It looks the part, has an exciting interior, incredible performance, a two-wheel drive mode and infinite headroom. The M8 model line in general is extremely exciting because it’s the first of its kind. But the M8 Convertible might be the most exciting simply for the fact that it will allow top-down smokey burnouts in a 600-plus horsepower, V8-powered BMW.
BMW M8 Convertible – Exterior
BMW M8 Convertible – Interior
BMW M8 – Highlights
BMW M8 – Sketches
BMW M8 Convertible – Specs