BMW 8 Series Convertible (2019) Review

BMW 8 Series Convertible (2019) At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The 8 Series Convertible is one of BMW’s best contemporary styling efforts and with a well-appointed interior, it meets the brief for opulent indulgence.

+Handsome styling especially with the roof lowered, standard equipment will impress the tech-savvy, decent value for money alongside rival cars.

-Rear seats are of little use to adults, less luxurious than pricier convertible rivals, M850i is quick, but less fun than a sports car.

As a flagship of the BMW range, the 8 Series Convertible has a lot to live up to. The handsome exterior styling also sets expectations high, but this drop-top model delivers where it matters. It feels like a blend of grand tourer and sports car, with the ability to genuinely reward keen drivers. A range of powerful engines also helps the cause, as does a well-made interior. The only downsides are a ride that feels stiff on rough roads, plus a pair of tiny back seats that are hardly suitable for carrying passengers.

Nobody needs to buy an expensive cabriolet like the BMW 8 Series Convertible, but this range-topping model certainly makes a strong case for its existence. 

Converting the 8 Series from a hard-top Coupe to fabric-roofed Convertible has been a successful exercise. Park next to the fixed-roof version and the cabrio looks identical in profile with the roof up. Electrically folding the soft-top takes just 15 seconds, and endows the 8 Series with even more elegant proportions. It is just a shame going topless has an impact on the car’s practicality. 

A complex folding roof needs space to be stowed away. To do that, and retain sleek exterior styling, the 8 Series has to, er, keep its junk in the trunk. With the roof raised, boot capacity is 350 litres, but retracting the hood reduces this to 280 litres. Given the overall size of the 8 Series Convertible, a boot the same size as that in a city car might come as a shock.

The solution is to make use of the back seats as additional storage space instead. On paper, the 8 Series Convertible is a four-seater, but the rear seats are more for show than actual use.

Headroom and legroom are in short supply, and the standard wind deflector actually covers the space passengers would use. Take the hint, and think of the 8 Series as a two-seater with a leather-clad storage bench behind. 

Those in the front will have no complaints, given the high-quality materials used throughout the cabin of the 8 Series. The actual layout of the interior is familiar from other BMW models, but this should hardly count against the 8 Series Convertible. Standard Merino leather upholstery, dark aluminium trim and stainless steel detailing ensure it feels as expensive as it surely is. 

Technology is also comprehensive in the 8 Series, with a seemingly endless list of standard features. Adaptive LED headlights, internet-connected satellite navigation, a digital dashboard and a Harman Kardon premium audio system are all included. Dive into the pricey options list should you want laser headlights, a crystal gear shifter or Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound audio.

Then you will need to pick from the two petrol engines, or the sole diesel. All offer impressive performance, and are combined with an excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox. While a diesel convertible may seem unappealing, the 840d delivers respectable fuel economy that will be a boon for higher-mileage drivers. 

The 8 Series Convertible is more than just a drag racer, with handling that can challenge dedicated sports cars costing far more. Standard four-wheel drive in the 840d and M850i helps, as does clever technology such as four-wheel steering. Only a stiff ride with the adaptive suspension in Sport mode undoes this good work.

Given that BMW could easily sell the 8 Series Convertible on the strength of its looks alone, this list of qualities only adds to the overall package. Should you be in the market for a big cabriolet, the blend of performance, luxury and tech makes this one hard to ignore. 

What does a BMW 8 Series Convertible (2019) cost?