Not many will feel the 8 Series is lacking in speed or acceleration, but there will always be some who push the performance envelope to the max. To satisfy them BMW’s M Division has reworked both the 8 Series Coupé and Convertible models, releasing them as M8 Competition models with a full 625hp and searing, track-honed performance. The M8 Competition Convertible is both a seriously fast track machine and accomplished top-down cruiser.
Distinguishing features of the M8 Competition models include a grille with the M Division black double bars above deep lower air intakes. The rear diffuser and apron are also unique to the M8 Competition models; the twin exhaust tailpipes are in black chrome and there’s a bootlid spoiler. The roof is fabric, best for both a low centre of gravity and boot space (the multi-layer soft top opens or closes in 15 seconds and can be activated at up to 31mph). When open, the soft-top stows away beneath a rear tonneau that’s covered in the same material as the door trim. Inside, full Merino leather trim is standard, and the M Sport seats have perforated 3D quilting.
Developing 625hp and 750Nm of torque from its high-revving 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, the M8 Competition Convertible hits 62 miles an hour in just 3.3 seconds from a standing start. Top speed is governed to 155mph, though the optional M Driver package delivers a full 189mph top speed. Power is channelled to the rear wheels via a rear-biased M xDrive all-wheel drive system that brings the front wheels into play only when the rears are losing traction. The M8 Competition’s chassis and adaptive suspension were developed during extensive testing at the Nürburgring, the Miramas circuit in France and even on frozen lakes in Sweden’s Arctic region. The set up can be configured to the driver’s preferences, with a choice of Efficient, Sport and Sport Plus for the engine, and chassis settings of Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. M Compound brakes are standard while the M-specific exhaust offers a selectable louder engine note via the M Sound Control button on the centre console.
The M8 Competition Convertible features air collars in the M Sport seats that channel warm air to the neck when you’re driving with the top down in cooler weather. Another standard feature is an air deflector that can be set in the rear seat area to reduce unwanted air turbulence. As with its Coupé stablemate, instrumentation is via a 12.3-inch digital screen and there’s a further 10.25-inch Control Display in the centre console. BMW Comfort Access, wireless phone charging, the BMW Display Key, Adaptive LED headlights, head-up display and interior ambient lighting are all standard. Optional packages include BMW Laserlight that offers a high-beam range of 600 metres yet automatically avoids dazzling oncoming road users.
Rollover protection on the M8 Competition Convertible is provided via two protective bars behind the rear seat head restraints that automatically deploy when the car is at risk of rolling. Other safety aids include BMW’s Driving Assistant driver aid system and Parking Assistant Plus. The Cruise Control system has a braking function as well as Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking, which also alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected. BMW’s optional Driving Assistant Professional adds steering and lane control assistance, active side collision protection and the Evasion Assistant that steers away from danger when a collision appears imminent. Other Driving Assistant Professional features include junction warning, wrong-way warning and front-crossing traffic warning.
Verdict: Convertibles are sometimes seen as a softer option compared with their coupe stablemates. But there’s nothing soft about the M8 Competition Convertible. As the name implies, it has been developed on track alongside the M8 Competition Coupé and concedes barely a fraction of a second in acceleration, while offering the visceral thrill of high-performance open-air motoring.
UNLADEN WEIGHT: 2,010kg
BOOT CAPACITY: 350 litres
ACCELERATION (0-62mph): 3.3 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph
**Values will vary depending on vehicle specification, trim level and optional equipment selected. Vehicle performance figures shown are for base model.