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BMW 8 Series Convertible
The Top Gear car review:BMW 8 Series Convertible
What is it like on the road?
Holy heck the M850i is fast. It hurls itself towards corners in furious fashion. There’s going to be an M8 version at some point soon. Why on Earth? How could 523bhp, a flawless eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive not provide enough pace for you? Even though it weighs over two tonnes, this is a phenomenally fast car. Surely, BMW could simply slap the M8’s gnarlier bumpers and multitude of exhausts on this car and most buyers would simply never know the difference. Or dare to drive it fast enough to find out.
Partly that’s also due to the noise. Again, holy heck. This is the best-sounding BMW for yonks. We’ve become dejected with soulless BMW turbocharged motors depending too heavily on augmented noise being pumped in via the hi-fi, but the 8’s V8 rights those wrongs with a barrel-chested bellow that treads exactly the right line between theatre and over-doing it. Maybe the cracks and pops on the overrun in Sport mode are a bit ostentatious in a drop-top, but take the car out of Sport mode in town and mostly, onlookers won’t gesture their disapproval as you waft by.
Were BMW billing this simply as a GT, then big noise and absurd power would be enough to sign the job off well done, but being adamant this is a sports car doesn’t do the big 8 any favours. It weighs almost 2.1 tonnes, and as you’d expect, it can’t corner and change direction and involve its driver like the new 911 Cabrio can. Down a decent road, you’d have more fun in the slower, less grippy i8 Roadster, because it’s more seat-of-your-pants. The 8 is more aloof. Compared to a Mercedes S500 Cabrio mind, it’s leagues more composed. Less, well, floppy.
The structure feels stiff, the ride is mature, and it turns in obediently. It’s a clinically effective car. But really, it’s a car you manhandle briskly for ten minutes or so, just to see what happens, then settle back down again and cruise, content it has some racy ability, but hardly gagging to turn around and drive the same stretch again.