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2020 BMW M8 Competition Convertible - Supercar Performance Super Good Looking | Review By Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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Supercar performance for the discerning

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

No doubt the pandemic of 2020…Covid-19, has hit auto sales hard. Not unlike most all car makers, BMW total sales in the U.S. for the first half of 2020 are down about 39%.

Interesting to note is that BMW sells more cars than trucks--SUVs, that is. About 52% of BMW’s sales in 2019 were cars. Actually, that is not surprising considering that BMW is known as a premium performance brand.

Amongst all the BMW cars the M8 is a niche product. According to industry reports, BMW sold 4,410 of them last year, which is 2.7% of their total car sales.

The BMW 8 Series was reintroduced after a 20-year void from the market as an all new model in 2019. The M8 is offered as a coupe, convertible and 4-door Gran Coupé.

I drove and reported on the Gran Coupé earlier this Spring. You can read that report HERE

The entire M8 lineup is racecar inspired with a focus on power, performance and driving dynamics. I was happy to have the opportunity to drive the convertible M8, especially since it now was top-down driving season.

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First, a bit about the M8 Convertible. It is a four-seater, although the rear seat has limited leg room and may only work for the little ones. The trunk is about 12 cu.ft. in size that’ll fit your golf clubs or a couple of overnight bags.

Under the hood is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-L V8 with 600-HP that’s boosted to 617-HP on the M8 Competition. An 8-speed automatic drives the xDrive all-wheel drive system that is standard equipped. Zero to 60 is in a very quick 3.2 seconds, and one-tenth less in the Competition. Top speed is 155 mph with an option to boost it to 189 mph with the M Driver’s Package that includes a voucher for M School driver training at one of the two BMW Performance Center driving schools, either in Spartanburg, SC or Thermal, CA.

And yes, the price. M8 Convertible is $142,500 and the M8 Competition Convertible is $155,500, plus a $995 destination charge.

Pricey, yes. Powerful, yes. Classy, yes. Opulent, yes. That’s the M8 Convertible. The M8 provides way more performance than the average U.S. driver needs or can use. I wondered, why a convertible with such high performance? Convertibles are best at lower speeds in comfortable temperatures with the top down.

The power operated top that you can open and close at speeds up to 30 mph makes it very convenient to go from open-air to heated or airconditioned driving. It also makes it easy to secure the car while driving around within your zip code doing routine personal tasks.

A wind deflector that’s stored in the trunk can be fitted to keep your hair a bit nicer on highway drives. There’s even an available neck warmer to stream warm air from the headrests on cooler days.

For those street drives BMW offers a wide range of Advanced Driver Assistance Safety (ADAS) features, some standard and some optional.

For performance driving, the rear-wheel biased xDrive system, adaptive suspension, driver-selectable control over the engine, suspension, steering and xDrive settings, as well as the brake-by-wire system all allow you to get the max from the M8.

M8s are equipped with standard M light-alloy wheels; 9.5 x 20 inches in front and 10.5 x 20 inches in rear mounted with non-run-flat, high-performance tires in 275/35R20 front and 285/35R20 rear. Wheels on the M8 Competition are forged alloy.

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The cockpit is wonderfully executed with supportive high-bolstered seats, power adjustable everything, a great Harman-Kardon surround sound audio system, as well as a high-resolution digital 12.3” instrument cluster display behind the steering wheel and a 10.25” center display.

Yes I enjoyed driving the M8 Convertible a lot. I had the top down as often as possible, although some mid-day drives in 90ºF temps with sun high overhead were smarter with the top up and air conditioning on.

I don’t know why someone would buy a M8 convertible with all this performance potential. Perhaps just to know or say you had it. I think a BMW 840i convertible might be the better top-down choice. Look at www.bmwusa for more info.

Convertibles are quite good these days, and are way improved over those from years ago. Tops fit well. There are no water leaks. The power feature is very convenient. They are fairly quiet. Topping fabrics are durable and often multi-layered. Haartz is the major supplier to most all OEMs and has a great reputation for quality material.

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Convertibles were at a point in the past expected to be regulated out of existence. That didn’t happen. A recent study by the IIHS reported that convertibles may not look as safe as other vehicles when they’re cruising down the highway with the top down, but crash statistics tell a different story. Despite the appearance of their roof structures, late-model convertibles are no riskier than non-convertibles, according to the analysis of crash and fatality rates. In fact, both crash rates and driver death rates were lower for convertibles than for nonconvertible versions of the same cars. Many, like the BMW, are equipped with a rollover protection system.

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Autoweek recently reported that BMW is not selling as many M8 Coupes and Convertibles as it thought it would and the company confirmed it would not bring any more to the U.S. “at this time.” Autoweek quotes BMW Blog as reporting that apparently “at this time” means we won’t get any M8s for 2021. The Covid-effect!

So, visit your local BMW dealer to see what’s in stock. Don’t miss your chance if you really want one.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy