Germans hope us Brits warm to new soft-top

BLUE skies, a warm breeze and the sun beating down on freshly mowed lawns. Yes, summer must be just around the corner, and to prove it German premium brand carmakers BMW have launched their new 8 Series Convertible, combining open-top, four-seater luxury with sportscar performance and handling, a spacious interior and a superb soundtrack to match.

The BMW 8 Series Convertible cuts an impressive figure with both the roof up or down. The compartment for the soft-top roof causes the trailing edge of the car’s body to be slightly higher than that of the BMW 8 Series Coupé. With the roof down the rear end appears extremely flat and low to the road. In addition, horizontal lines and light units extending into the flanks accentuate the width of the car. The third brake light embedded in the boot lid adds to the low-slung look. Twin exhaust trapezoidal tailpipes round off the lower section of the rear apron.

The BMW 8 Series Convertible is equipped with adaptive LED headlights as standard. BMW Laserlights are available with variable road illumination and Selective Beam, as a cost option. Further scope for individualisation is offered with the Chrome Line Exterior and M Carbon Exterior package.

The new BMW 8 Series Convertible’s roof is lightweight and provides superb acoustic insulation. Opening and closing automatically at the touch of a button in 18 seconds, the insulated roof can be activated when the car is travelling at speeds of up to 31mph.

Inside, both the driver and passengers are surrounded by the sweeping flow of the instrument panels in the back and in the front of the cabin, as well as the door shoulders and soft-top compartment cover.

Electrically adjustable multi-function seats are fitted as standard in both models and are trimmed in Merino leather with a range of colour choices. The standard M leather steering wheel has multi-function buttons and gearshift paddles to control the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission.

The BMW 8 Series Convertible offers a standard Harman Kardon Surround Sound System featuring 12 speakers while the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System is optional.

And, if for some reason, the sun fails to shine on Britain this summer then the new BMW 8 Series Convertible includes a wind defector as standard and also air collars that are integrated in the front seat head restraints as standard, which provide a variable (speed dependent) stream of heated air for warming the neck when driving with the convertible roof down at low outside temperatures.

Other warming optional extras include ventilated seats and a Heat Comfort Package with a heated steering wheel just in case, of course.

Two engines are used in the BMW 8 Series Convertible and they are accompanied by a model-specific sports exhaust system.

The BMW M850i xDrive version is powered by a 530hp V8 petrol with a zero to 62mph time of 3.9 seconds, while the BMW 840d xDrive features a 3.0-litre straight-six diesel. This unit offers 320hp and goes from rest to 62mph in 5.2 seconds.

They channel their power through to the road via an eight-speed Steptronic Sport gearbox and the BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The M Sport differential is fitted as standard on the BMW M850i xDrive and, as well as improving traction, improves agility particularly when the car is exiting corners.

The all-new BMW 8 Series Convertible is on sale now, with on-the-road prices starting from £83,295.