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BMW 8 Series Convertible

Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:BMW 8 Series Convertible


On the inside

Layout, finish and space

As you’d expect, everything you’re looking at once seated in the 8 Convertible (besides the ruddy great hole above your head) is transplanted wholesale from the 8 Coupe. So if it’s all the same to you, we’ll concentrate on the bits that are different.

In the Coupe, you won’t really use the back seats because the sloping roof eats too far into useable headroom. In the Convertible, that problem is rather obviously removed, but a new one arises. There’s very little legroom for the rear chairs to exploit, and the backrests are extremely upright to allow for the roof’s new burrow behind them. You might put children there for a short time, but riding four-adults-up like you’re in a 1950s American land yacht (or a Mercedes S-Class Cabrio) won’t be the most dignified experience. You’ll use the seats for extra luggage space, though the 8 acquits itself well there, offering 350 litres of cargo capacity. There’s also a through-load facility that BMW is confident will swallow your skis.

The wind-breaker is manually erected rather than a super-slick electrical item as per the new 911 Cabrio, but once it’s in place, it’s better than the Porsche’s – less blustering, without the increase in wind noise.

All told, refinement top up or top down is pretty exemplary. The body doesn’t shudder, you get a pleasant breeze when going al fresco, but it’s not a gale-force strength, and with the hood motored efficiently into place, the roof doesn’t flutter and you cruise along in serenity. Yet again, the 8 is happiest being coaxed along, one arm on the door top, steering betwixt thumb and forefinger. Classy. Calm.

While you ignore the fact that all of the ugly, haphazard displays and graphics being beamed at you from the dashboard are the same as you’ll get in a well-specced 3 Series. And in direct sunlight, too many of the flush buttons and fancy switchgear is unreadable at best and dazzling at worst. Nicely put together, mind you, but Mercedes does arch-modern opulence better.

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