BMW’s all-new 8 Series Convertible isn’t due to be officially revealed until the middle of next year, but these exclusive spy shots obtained by Auto Express show the car in all its glory.
The German brand confirmed plans for a new 8 Series family last year; the Coupe was the first model to be shown at the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race last month. These spy shots reveal that BMW is wasting no time in getting the next member of the 8 Series line-up into its showrooms.
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Eagle-eyed Auto Express reader Iain Pollo spotted the car being driven around Loch Assynt in Scotland. It’s not the first time the Convertible has been spied on the road, but it’s lost the camouflage used by prototypes in the past, so we can see every line and detail for the first time.
The images clearly show the drop-top version on a secret photo shoot, with the pictures likely to be used for marketing material ahead of the car’s launch.
Even though the Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet rival is around 12 months away from landing in showrooms, it’s clear from the photos that the design is complete and carries over many similarities from the 8 Series Coupe.
The large kidney grille, chiseled front bumper and slim LED headlamps have been lifted over unchanged, while at the back the wide tail-lights and gaping chrome exhausts also remain; those features indicate this particular model is in fact the range-topping M850i.
Previous spy shots have shown the hood is a fabric set-up, meaning folding hard-top roofs are fast becoming a thing of the past. The fabric roof saves weight – crucial given the weight gains due to extra strengthening along the flanks to make up for the reduced structural integrity brought about by the loss of the fixed roof. In all, the drop-top is likely to be around 100kg-125kg heavier than the Coupé, tipping it over the 2,000kg mark.
The M850i model pictured indicates that BMW is likely to mirror the engine line-up from the Coupe. The entry-level Convertible is expected to be the 840d, which will use the brand’s 320bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel motor.
Range-topping M850i variants will be powered by a 530bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, which, in the Coupe, is capable of delivering a 0-62mph sprint time of 3.7 seconds; that figure is likely to increase to around four seconds due to the additional weight of the Convertible.
All models will use BMW’s xDrive four-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic gearbox; the M850i will also make use of active rear-wheel steering, a sports exhaust and a limited-slip differential on the rear axle.
In the future you can also expect to see a fully-fledged M8 Convertible arrive. The manufacturer has previously indicated there will be a full M version of each 8 Series bodystyle and these will be aimed directly at rival Mercedes-AMG’s line-up of S-Class models. The Convertible will also be followed by a larger and more practical four-door Gran Coupe further down the line.
Elsewhere at BMW, the German brand is undergoing one of the largest model offensives in its history. Before the 8 Series Convertible is officially revealed, the all-new 3 Series Saloon, Z4 roadster and X7 SUV will make their debuts.