“The BMW M8 Competition Convertible is a heavyweight grand tourer with a price tag to match”
BMW never produced an ‘M’ version of the old 8 Series, so this M8 Competition Convertible represents a few firsts for the brand. Its customers have never before been able to go so fast with the roof down.
An incredible 616bhp and 750Nm sees to that, launching the drop-top from 0-62mph in just 3.3 seconds, despite it weighing well over two tonnes. Four-wheel drive helps it get smartly off the line, while an eight-speed automatic gearbox means you can simply keep your right foot planted and grip the steering wheel. It’s also possible to disconnect drive to the front wheels, but this is best reserved for private tracks where the M8 will happily oblige with smokey skids.
There’s a myriad of settings to adjust the driving experience and even the exhaust note, and they’re accessed via the touchscreen or a set of red ‘M’ toggles on the steering wheel that look like they’ve been borrowed from a fighter jet. The steering is precise and reactive, doing a good job of hiding the M8 Convertible’s size, but a lack of feedback and masses of grip means it can be hard to feel the car’s limits unless you take the car to a track. In other words, this is the polar opposite of an Mazda MX-5.
Another area where the convertible M8 looks a little suspect is its price, coming in at a heady £130,000. That’s for a car that feels similar inside, albeit slightly less comfortable, than the diesel version costing around £50,000 less – and which itself is hardly slow.
With raw power the order of the day, fuel efficiency takes a back seat
The M8 Convertible could be something of a last hurrah for BMW convertibles with thumping V8 petrol engines as emissions restrictions get stricter. Aside from stop and start, there are few compromises in the name of economy.
As a result, the 4.4-litre engine can only manage 25.2mpg on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 254g/km. Expect sports car running costs, then, with a road tax surcharge in the first five renewal years (for a total of £470 annually), pricey insurance premiums and high servicing bills. With so much power and a weight of over two tonnes, consumables like tyres and brakes aren’t likely to last too long.