In life, there are precious moments that deserve a special ornament. Be it the classic wristwatch, stylish jewelries, or the fancy china in a box atop the kitchen cabinet (for when the Queen comes to visit). These items serve an important purpose of helping to commemorate the occasion, and convert these moments into meaningful memories. For two of my best friends, it was the 2020 BMW M8 Cabriolet Competition that served as the special backdrop on the most important day of their lives.
The opportunity came when I received a call from the couple, asking if I would be the person to drive them away after their wedding. Feeling honoured, I went to work looking for the special carriage that is deserving of this duty. Obviously, this vehicle would have to have more than two seats, prestigious pedigree, and something that is “Insta-worthy”. I instantly thought of one such vehicle, the all-new 2020 BMW M8 Cabriolet Competition, and we borrowed one from BMW Canada for a cameo appearance right after the lovebirds say I do.
The 2020 BMW M8 Cabriolet Competition arrived looking spotlight ready with the Verde Mantis (read: Green) paintjob that is part of the BMW Individual colour palette. The 8-series, especially in cabriolet form, is one of the classiest looking vehicles on the road today. The M8 Competition adds larger air inlets for functional cooling to the engine. Slim and wide LED headlights with Laserlight make the M8 look focused and menacing. We like that BMW has kept the M8’s styling from looking overly aggressive, in keeping with the standard M850i’s elegance and let its performance do the talking.
Being a flagship performance car that dons the iconic BMW crest, you just know this car can absolutely go like the best of them. This engine, the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 (codenamed S63), is one of the smoothest and quickest engines available in the market today. Thanks to its powerful 553 lb-ft. of max torque arriving at an early 1,800 RPM, the M8 Cabriolet Competition launches with such ferocity that is not matched by many other four seaters.
Stay on the throttle, and its 617-horsepower gets unleashed up to the 7,200 RPM redline, moving past 100km/h in 3.3 seconds up to an electronically controlled top speed of 250 km/h. Our tester, equipped with the optional M Driver’s package, actually gets an increased top speed of 300 km/h. With that capability, the M Driver’s package also includes a one-time admission to one of two BMW Performance Center driving schools to learn how to properly handle this powerhouse.
The BMW M8 Cabriolet Competition is more than just a straight-line missile. The rear biased M xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system is excellent in directing power to the wheels that can put it down. You can really feel the computer working when accelerating out of corners, where the M8 Cabriolet Competition feels extremely planted, and darts out of the corners like cars half its size. Those who are longing for more flair on corner exits can choose to have all the power sent only to the rear wheels once they deactivate the Dynamic Stability Control system (DSC), a unique feature that makes the M8 a perfect companion for both street and track driving.
Changing various modes is now made easier on the BMW M8, thanks to a single setup button found in the centre console, replacing what used to be separate engine, suspension, steering, and xDrive settings buttons in previous M cars. By pressing the setup button, driver can customize engine, suspension, steering, braking, and four-wheel drive settings on the fly. These settings can be saved to two presets using the M1 and M2 buttons on the wheel for even quicker access.
There is also a new M Mode button that allows drivers to have preset driver assist settings, instrument cluster and Head-Up Display (HUD) presets, with the Competition models receiving an extra Track setting on top of the regular Road and Sport settings in the M8.
Fuel economy ratings are usually not the focus of discussion when buying flagship performance cars with 600-plus horsepower, but the BMW M8 Cabriolet Competition actually gets a decent 13.8L/100km combined consumption rating, a figure close to our observed consumption over a week of mixed commute. BMW recommends 93-octane or Shell V-Power gasoline for the BM8 Cabriolet Competition.
Much like its exterior design, the interior for the M8 Cabriolet features a sporty and elegant design that will be familiar to anyone who has been inside a current BMW product. Standard carbon fibre trim on black Merino leather exudes performance; and the exclusive M8 Sport seats with illuminated M badging do a great job in holding the occupants tight for the ride. Another delicate feature that is only available in the Competition is the red and blue stitched M seatbelts, and along with the embossed M shifter, the cabin feels upscale and worthy of flagship status.
Pretty much every driver’s assist technology existed is embedded in this 2020 BMW M8 Cabriolet Competition. There is Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, a Lane Keeping Assistant with Active Side Collision Protection that uses visual warning signals and active steering intervention to help avoid a collision, evasion aid with pedestrian detection, Crossing Traffic Warning with brake intervention, as well as a host of other warning and mitigation features to keep occupants safe.
Infotainment is delivered using the iDrive 7 system through a high-resolution touchscreen that sits atop the centre console. The iDrive system is still our favourite system for its simplicity and intuitiveness. Apple CarPlay is supported, but unfortunately Android users are left waiting for their smartphone integration. The optional Bowers and Wilkins Diamond surround sound system is one of the best on the market today, with ambient lighting built into its speakers to create the all-around sensory experience.
Pricing of the 2020 BMW M8 Cabriolet Competition starts at $173,500, a $9,500 premium over the hardtop coupe. Our tester was equipped with the all-inclusive BMW Individual Manufaktur Package that includes the unique paintjob, ventilated seats, air collar, Bowers and Wilkins sound system, M Carbon exterior package, M Driver’s package, Traffic Jam Assistant, and the Driving Assistant Professional options for $14,500. Add in $1,200 for the M Carbon engine cover, and we arrived at an as-tested total of $189,200.
With a sticker price of near $190,000, the BMW M8 Cabriolet Competition competes with an elite group of four-seater performance convertibles. While it may seem expensive at first glance, it is actually a bargain when compared to both the Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC+ Cabriolet, and the all-new Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet; both of which start north of $200,000 and cost significantly more when similarly equipped.
The 2020 BMW M8 Cabriolet Competition is a special vehicle that has the livability of an everyday commuter and the performance of a world class sports car. More importantly, it can give its occupants and those around them butterflies at a moment’s notice, and the picture of my two best friends being driven off into the sunset as part of their sweet memory is made that much more special by this green convertible.
*Photos by Desmond Chan*