Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • New generation interior design
  • Clean and simple to use
  • Loads of connectivity tech

The BMW 8 Series Convertible features an evolution of the German maker’s tried and tested interior design – a sweeping dashboard interrupted by a prominent centre console that separates the driver and passenger. You can pick between a steel mesh trim insert or high-gloss wood, plus piano black from BMW Individual.

In front of the driver’s elbow is a bank of switches for selecting the drive mode as well as controlling the iDrive infotainment system and automatic gearbox. Test cars featured a bejewelled option for the last two, the shifter in particular looking like something from the Crystal Maze.

Further up there are physical buttons for the climate control and stereo – traditionalists rejoice – but with a reduced number than we’re used to seeing in BMW cars.

BMW 8 Series Convertible dashboard

All 8 Series Convertibles get this high-tech, dual-screen navigation and multimedia system - it’s made up of a 12.3-inch display behind the wheel and another in the dashboard measuring 10.25-inches.

BMW’s Operating System 7.0 means you can control its functions via the touchscreen display, with several pre-set gestures, the iDrive controller, buttons on the steering wheel or voice control.

Connected services such as emergency call, over-the-air updates, BMW App connectivity and Intelligent Voice assistants are standard, as is Apple CarPlay – although the latter is free for the first year only. After that you have to pay a subscription to BMW.

Spot the little details on the M8 Competition

You’ll have to look a little closer in the cabin to spot the few details that mark out the M8 Competition from the rest of the range.

You’ll find the M8 badges in the front headrests illuminate with the rest of the cabin at night, while red highlights can be found on the starter button and M mode buttons on the steering wheel. You’ll also notice the part-leather gearlever and it’s adjustable toggle switch, which adjusts the velocity of the gearchanges for the automatic gearbox.

The biggest difference for the driver, will be the ability to switch to an M display mode for the digital cockpit, showing a simpler layout with most of the information placed in the centre of the screen. Switching to the Track drive mode also turns off the centre display screen and parking sensors to minimise distraction for the driver.

Comfort

  • Quiet in the cabin with roof up
  • Well insulated with it down, too
  • Relaxed ride with squashy chairs

BMW 8 Series air collar headrest 2019

The BMW 8 Series Convertible isn’t quite as cossetting as a 7 Series saloon but it gets admirably close, and does a great job of isolating noise from outside the cabin with the roof up.

With it down there’s remarkably little buffeting, not least due to the standard issue wind deflector, which helps channel the breeze over the top of the car. It folds down to half size when not in use and is stored in the boot, but with it in place you’ll find the rear seats are completely unusable.

Roof down comfort is enhanced with options like heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel and a vent integrated into each of the front headrests, named ‘air collar’. These blow hot air onto the back of your neck and adjust according to your speed; increasing in intensity the faster you drive.

We’ve found with all these combined, the heating system is powerful enough at keeping passengers warm with the roof down, even on a cool Autumn day.

M8 Competition: comfortable seats and ride

BMW is positioning the 8 Series Convertible alongside sports cars like the Porsche 911 Cabriolet, as well as luxurious cruisers like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet. Offering a mixture of the two, this luxurious four-seat soft-top is far larger than the former, blending grown up ride comfort that can turn its hand to cornering. In terms of comfort balance, the BMW feels much more satisfying when wafting along.

Add to that a supportive but squashy driver’s seat and the 8 Series Convertible makes for a very convincing grand tourer, albeit one with an athletic edge when the temptation takes you.

The ride on the M8 Competition is firmer, but the suspension remains pliant and absorbs bumps well – especially compared with the knobbly ride on the Coupe version – making this the one to go for if you want the combination of the fastest 8 Series and a more forgiving ride quality.

This suits the relaxed nature of the convertible and makes for an extremely capable long-distance cruiser. Some may be disappointed at the detriment of better composure on twisty roads but stiffening-up this convertible would be a destructive exercise.

BMW 8 Series Convertible comfort 2019