Grand touring vehicles are all about having fun with your drive and having fun with the highway on which you are driving. It solely is smart, then, that the very best GTs are solely improved by turning them into convertibles. Take, as an illustration, the brand new BMW eight Sequence. The coupe would possibly entice you to hit up a race observe, however the convertible will goad you into canceling your appointments and heading out for a weekend getaway. The 2019 BMW M850i convertible is simply that alluring.
Kind and performance
In an period the place BMW has gone fairly a very long time with out constructing a phenomenal automotive, the eight Sequence is a standout that’ll get seen whether or not it is parked out entrance within the valet line or blasting alongside the open highway. Lengthy, low and huge, the eight Sequence convertible seems to be hanging from each angle, particularly with its roof down. The automotive has plenty of presence — because it ought to for one thing almost 16 toes lengthy.
The powered gentle prime is, after all, the defining characteristic of this mannequin. It may be raised or lowered on the contact of a button in simply 15 seconds, and when you’re driving at as much as 30 miles per hour, too. With the roof stowed, there’s an sadly massive blind spot over your shoulder, which is not supreme for backing out of angled parking areas. However the multilayer cloth prime does do an important job of conserving wind and highway noise out of the cabin.
With the roof down, visibility is of course improved. There is not an excessive amount of wind buffeting at velocity; a pop-up wind blocker, discovered within the trunk, may be popped in place over the rear seats in case you want even much less wind in your hair for lengthy freeway journeys. The very best characteristic of all, although, is a button that activates a blast of warming air rising from the front-seat headrests. It is a $400 possibility and positively well worth the cash. Like Mercedes’ related Airscarf operate, it makes top-down driving extra palatable on chillier days — particularly along with the heated seats and heated steering wheel.
Residing with the convertible prime down is made simpler because of heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a system that blows heat air on the again of your neck.
As in any four-seat convertible like this, back-seat room is satisfactory for brief journeys however actually not supreme for lengthy journeys. I can sit within the again with simply sufficient legroom however when the highest is up, I am unable to sit up. The trunk, in the meantime, holds 12.Four cubic toes of your belongings, which is lower than the coupe’s as a result of the gentle prime folds into the trunk. That cuts down on vertical room, so you will most likely need soft-sided luggage to your weekend getaways. Unusually for a droptop, the eight Sequence has folding rear seats — however with the convertible prime in the best way, reducing the seat backs does not add a complete lot of utility.
The eight Sequence has a very well-appointed cabin, with stitched leather-based on almost each floor, luxurious comfy seats and modern-looking metal-mesh trim items. My take a look at automotive has the optionally available glass controls package deal, which means the shifter, engine start-stop button and infotainment knob are all artworks that refract prism-like. At night time, sadly, the BMW’s ambient lighting glints off the iDrive controller distractingly; that is one automotive during which I might most likely flip off the ambient lighting solely for that purpose.
Idyllic on a regular basis driver
My first journey out within the M850i cements an awesome impression of pleasantness. It is a automotive that is enjoyable and beautiful to drive in each scenario, which is simply what you want from a grand tourer that could be referred to as upon for lengthy highway journeys.
The eight Sequence’ cabin is good-looking and well-designed.
The positives start with excellent journey high quality that, regardless of the large wheels, ends in a automotive that’s creamy over each kind of highway floor. Adaptive dampers little doubt play an enormous function right here, with the automotive’s default Consolation setting serving to hold the journey plush, however even in Sport mode the eight Sequence is remarkably pliant over brittle roads.
There’s additionally plenty of smoothness available from the powertrain. For example, although there’s large energy accessible — extra on that in a bit — the BMW’s lengthy and mild throttle mapping permits for super-smooth getaways and driving with out snapping your passenger’s neck backward. The usual eight-speed automated transmission adjustments gears so deftly that the most important indication it is completed so is seeing the tachometer needle transfer.
Then there’s the rear-wheel steering, which at low speeds helps cut back the lengthy BMW’s turning circle. A automotive this massive should not pivot round so daintily and be really easy to slide by means of city visitors and parking tons, however with the rear wheels capable of flip 2.5 levels, maneuvering the eight Sequence is a cinch. Couple that with plentiful active-safety techniques and parking sensors, and the BMW simply dispatches commuting obligation.
The dual-turbo Four.Four-liter V8 delivers a stout 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque.
About the one actual draw back for on a regular basis driving is gasoline financial system. The M580i is rated for 17 miles per gallon metropolis and 26 mpg freeway, which actually is not a foul quantity for the automotive’s dimension and energy. However drive it with the roof down commonly, which hurts aerodynamics, and whereas utilizing a number of the horsepower on supply and you may wrestle to see these numbers. I am averaging 16 to 17 mpg in combined driving. (One freeway run with the roof up did see numbers nearer to 24 mpg.)
Massive on efficiency, too
This is probably not a full-on M automotive — we all know a BMW M8
is coming later this 12 months — however with an “M” at first of its mannequin designation, the M850i has a complete lot of efficiency on faucet. For starters, there is a Four.Four-liter twin-turbo V8 serving up 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque.
The eight-speed automated transmission has an extra-short first-gear ratio to make getting off the road even faster, and matched with customary all-wheel drive, this automotive will get to 60 mph in a claimed Three.eight seconds.
Controls on the middle console function the automotive’s drive modes, convertible prime, infotainment system and extra.
What that determine does not inform you, after all, is simply how effortlessly quick the eight Sequence is. With constant, energy supply throughout the rev vary it does not even really feel as fast as it’s. However merely put your foot down for right-now energy and velocity. The soundtrack is fairly implausible, too. Typically turbocharged efficiency vehicles solely sound thrilling at full throttle, however this engine has a pleasant burble and rumble on a regular basis — even in Consolation mode you may inform there is a V8 underneath the hood.
There’s loads of chassis functionality to again up that straight-line grunt, too, particularly with the drive mode dialed as much as Sport Plus. The eight Sequence is extremely correct and has tons of grip on supply by means of bends. It is actually extra succesful than I can use on a public highway. Serving to put the facility down is that customary all-wheel drive, which has a rearward bias and a locking rear differential to provide the automotive a sportier, nearly rear-drive really feel. It has huge brakes, too, with a pleasantly stable really feel that permits for scrubbing velocity straight away.
BMW’s engineers labored laborious to maintain the eight Sequence’ weight in test, using aluminum for the doorways, hood and firewall, and carbon-fiber strengthened plastics used for the middle tunnel. Even so, the convertible is 258 kilos portlier than the coupe, at simply over Four,700 kilos. However the truth the automotive feels so fleet and agile, and that it handles in addition to it does, actually is a testomony to the BMW’s chassis engineering. From behind the wheel, the driving expertise belies the precise curb weight.
As a result of the convertible prime stows inside it, trunk house is way lower than within the eight Sequence coupe.
The truth is, combining each its keen reflexes on a again highway and its pleasant livability in any other case, the M850i is my favourite BMW I’ve pushed in fairly a while. Taken as a whole package deal, I prefer it extra even than the M5 Competitors I drove earlier this spring or the M2 Competitors I drove again within the fall. The eight Sequence actually simply does all of it, and does all of it so very effectively.
Loaded with know-how
The eight Sequence is loaded with know-how from entrance to again. Highlights embrace options like LED headlights with laser excessive beams (sure, actually — lasers!), energetic grille shutters and a shade head-up show. A 12.Three-inch digital instrument cluster gives a map view at its heart and configurable info shows on its right-hand facet.
A 10.25-inch touchscreen runs the newest BMW iDrive 7 infotainment software program. It is easy to make use of — arguably easier than older iDrive iterations — with a reconfigurable house display screen made up of a number of tiles. There are a lot of, many choices and a few features are buried inside layers, however the system’s fast responses and logical group make it easy to select up. If touching the display screen is not your factor, you may as well use the rotary controller on the middle console, or say, “Hey BMW” to “speak” to the Clever Private Assistant voice-recognition operate.
Together with the infotainment system, there is a full-digital instrument cluster, too.
To maintain devices charged, the eight Sequence options USB Sort A and Sort C ports, plus optionally available wi-fi charging. A Wi-Fi hotspot is included. Apple CarPlay is supported however Android Auto is just not.
The checklist of security know-how is intensive, too. As customary the automotive has precollision warning and braking, with pedestrian and bike owner detection. Choices fitted to my take a look at automotive embrace lane-keep help, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise management, lane-centering steering on the freeway and a 360-degree digital camera. The adaptive cruise has a stop-and-go characteristic that can routinely speed up the automotive once more in case you’re stopped for lower than 30 seconds; another ACC techniques require the driving force to speed up from a cease manually.
After all, these options all require the driving force to maintain his or her fingers on the wheel always. There’s one exception, although: Assisted Driving Plus, a particular mode solely accessible in sure low-speed stop-and-go conditions. On this mode, beneath 37 mph, I can hold my fingers off the steering wheel indefinitely. Nonetheless, a digital camera within the automotive’s instrument cluster “watches” to make sure I am nonetheless watching the highway. Nonetheless, slogging by means of rush-hour freeway visitors on my approach house from our video shoot, the system labored flawlessly and did loads to cut back my frustration with the congestion.
The M850i has an imposing presence and it is one of many best-looking merchandise within the BMW showroom in the present day.
An costly however distinctive proposition
Priced from $122,395 with vacation spot, with my tester itemizing for $126,395, the M850i Convertible is actually some huge cash. Nonetheless, there additionally is just not a lot in direct competitors with this automotive: a Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet is much less highly effective, an S-Class cabrio is way bigger. A Porsche 911 Cabrio is far more centered on sportiness and efficiency, and Lexus has but to place its LC convertible idea into manufacturing. So for now, the eight Sequence is sort of in a category of 1.
All informed, it is robust to search out flaws with the 2019 BMW eight Sequence Convertible. In extraordinary driving, it is sublimely enjoyable and straightforward to dwell with. Pushed with enthusiasm, it assaults a again highway with extra velocity than you will ever really want or use. And on prime of that, the large convertible has curb attraction for days and first-rate know-how. It has been some time since I so totally loved driving a brand new BMW.
Probably the most telling factor of all, although, is that being behind the wheel of the eight Sequence simply makes me need to drive it extra. That is precisely how a grand tourer ought to make its driver really feel, and it underlines that BMW has hit its mark with the brand new eight Sequence.
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