BMW actually has a decent stable of convertibles at the moment. There’s the 4 Series Convertible, 8 Series Convertible, M4 Convertible, and the BMW Z4 Roadster. Not too shabby of a lineup, if I’m being honest. Which made me realize that BMW has always had great convertibles, dating all the way back to the 1930s, even if they were simple cars like drop-top versions of the 3 Series. So let’s take a look at some of BMW’s best convertibles of all time. Being that there are zillions of them throughout the brand’s history, let’s only take a look at a few of the best.
It’s hard to talk about BMW convertibles without mentioning one of its many “Z” cars and by far the most interesting of them is the original BMW Z1. The BMW Z1 debuted in 1989 and it was a fascinating car when it was first seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It featured a unique body made from plastic body panels that were actually easily removable. BMW claimed you could remove all of the panels and swap them out for different colored panels and have an entirely new looking car in just a day. But the showstopper was its vertically sliding doors, which slid down into the body work when opened. And, you could drive with the doors lowered, which, with the top down, offered more of an open-air sports car experience than any other car on the road.
As a homage to the classic BMW 507, the Bavarians employed Henrik Fisker to design a good looking, two-seater, grand touring roadster and boy did he. The BMW Z8 was, and still, is one of the best looking BMWs of all time, with a timeless design that will likely still be beautiful fifty years from now.
What makes the Z8 even more special is the fact that it essentially had an E39 M5 powertrain underneath its stunning body work. Under the hood was a 4.9 liter naturally-aspirated V8 that made 395 horsepower and was only paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Can you imagine a comfy V8 with a free-breathing V8 and only a manual transmission today? That incredible powertrain, combined with one of the prettiest designs in BMW history, easily puts the Z8 in the BMW convertible hall-of-fame.
When Fisker was designing the stunning Z8, it was designed to pay homage to the BMW 507 from the 1950s. The 507 was a breathtakingly beautiful car back when it debuted and it’s still the most beautiful car in BMW’s history. Period. It was a flawed car; too expensive to build, so over-engineered that it was difficult to source parts and maintain, and a bit underpowered for its price. It actually ended up being quite the sales failure for BMW.
However, looking back, the BMW 507 was so flipping beautiful and breathtakingly over-engineered that it absolutely belongs on this list. It’s also the car that really kicked off roadsters for BMW. It wasn’t BMW’s first roadster, not even close, but it’s what made topless BMWs famous, hence why the Z8 was designed to be a spiritual successor. In my opinion, the 507 is BMW’s best convertible of all time.
[Top Image: BMW Group Classic]