BMW enthusiasts had to wait nearly 20 years for the second-generation 8 Series, but that patients could be rewarded by a multitude of configurations.
When BMW revealed their new 8 Series at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy last year, it was the grand touring coupé that brand loyalists had been yearning for. A year on, with customer deliveries only a few months away, BMW has sneakily filed evidence that the 8 Series might not be a standalone coupé for too long.
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Images detailing two other 8 Series derivatives surfaced in the Dutch automotive media who seem to have taken the story down (though Autoevolution snagged some images before that happened), they clearly show both a fabric-roof convertible and four-door Gran Coupé body style. BMW is clearly keen on leveraging the 8 Series platform, although the market for large convertibles has been weak of late.
If you look at the BMW product hierarchy, 8 Series is effectively replacing the erstwhile 6 Series – and that model range featured a coupe, convertible and Gran Coupé configuration. It’s a completion of logic that BMW’s new premium offering would do much the same.
Considering the engineering resources available to BMW and its proven ability to build folding hardtop convertibles, why make the new 8 Series sun seeker with a fabric roof, instead of a metal one? A fabric roof convertible’s retracting mechanism is far simpler to design, and it requires less space to fold away into, which means you don’t sacrifice as much trunk capacity. BMW’s marketing 8 Series as an ultra-luxurious coast-to-coast tourer, which means it needs to comfortably swallow a sizeable allocation of luggage when required.
It’s abundantly clear why BMW is expanding its second-generation 8 Series portfolio. Mercedes has entrenched itself with a fabric-roof S-Class convertible, in addition to its folding hardtop SL, and the four-door coupé CLS. BMW is clearly aiming for its Stuttgart rival’s market share with these additional 8 Series developments.