Test Drive column: 2020 BMW 840i Convertible
Entry price: $97,400
Price as tested: $117,845
It’s been an interesting month when it comes to my Test Drive schedule with several high-end luxury and performance cars ending up in my driveway. This week is no different as we explore all that’s good about this week’s test drive, namely the 2020 BMW 8-Series. Delivered in convertible dress and featuring a special paint scheme, our 840i turned heads the moment it arrived.
First introduced in 1990 and lasting until the 1999 model year as a coupe only, the 8-Series was BMW’s flagship model in the luxury performance market and available only as a two-door coupe. After being dormant for 20 years, BMW brought back the 8-Series “second generation” in 2018 in coupe, convertible and four-door grand coupe trims. The new 840i is joined by two siblings, the M850i (coupe starts at $111,900) and M8 (convertible starts at $142,500). These latter two are M Sport models and powered by eight-cylinder engines that produce from 523 to 617 horsepower.
Built in Dingolfing, Germany, our 840i arrived in rear-drive format with an AWD “X Drive” model also available. With rear-drive still the choice of serious performance cars thanks to its offering the best in weight distribution, it’s hard to find fault with our 840i when it comes to handling and overall driving manners. All of the 8-Series models, and especially the convertible, are most pleasing to the eye. It’s clear they are upscale vehicles that offer a long list of standard features and electronic wizardry. The convertible also comes with an easy to install rear seat wind deflector that reduces cabin wind turbulence.
A $5,000 optional Frozen Bluestone Metallic paint (yes, you read it right … $5K) really set off our tester, so much so that just about every person we spoke to wanted to know more about it. And, with its unique flat finish, it really perked up what already is a motif that has few peers. Of the over 60 standard features, the 8-Series special chrome kidney grille, chrome window trim, and stainless steel exhaust deserve note, as does an easy top down/top up ragtop that you can operate at speeds 30 mph or less to raise or lower in a scant 15 seconds.
Inside, the leather bucket seats keep you in place when cornering, although in this price range I feel the cabin is overdone a bit with too many dials, switches and plastic instead of utilizing alloys. Everything high-tech is standard from smart phone compatibility to BMW’s “Live Cockpit Pro” instrumentation and natural voice navigation on a 12.3-inch display.
Underneath, aluminum suspension components aid in overall handling while large two-piece Brembo disc brakes are noteworthy. BMW has always been revered as a manufacturer that understood early on that stopping straight and quick is just as important as an acceleration time slip. Standard are 19-inch run flat tires on beautiful M Series Double Spoke alloy wheels.
Safety is top of mind as research and development at BMW nowadays involves some sort of advanced safety. Although our 840i included two options regarding safety, specifically an $1,100 Driver Assist Package and a $1,700 Driver Pro Assistance option, neither are essential as all of the modern day safety from front collision assist to smart cruise to lane departure controls are standard.
Now, on to the motivation.
Our 840i came with the 3.0-liter inline-6 cylinder twin scroll single turbo producing 335 horses and 368 lb. ft. of torque. Zero to 60 arrives in 5 seconds flat thanks to excellent gearing inside the eight-speed automatic transmission, which is also responsible for MPG expectations of 20 city and 27 highway. A manual mode automatic gate with steering wheel paddle shifters is noteworthy, as are several drive modes called Dynamic Driving Control. The selected modes change shifting, steering and suspension settings to whatever interests the driver on a given day. Expect at least 450 miles or more of highway driving from a tank of fuel, something we experienced during our 500-mile weeklong test.
There are other engines available, but you’ll need to move into the M8 series, where a 4.4 liter, 600 and 617 horse eight-cylinder turbo engine sits in waiting. Zero to 60 mph arrives in a scant 3 seconds, while a 523 horse version is also available with zero to 60 mph in 3.5. Of course, the price moves up substantially as noted above.
Additional options on our 840i include a $250 Moonlight Black soft top, $650 diamond cut glass shifter package, a $2,000 leather interior upgrade, $4,550 for the M Sport package, $3,400 for a Bowers & Wilkins stereo upgrade, and an $800 Comfort Seat upgrade. With $995 delivery, the final retail came in at $117,845.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 111.1 inches, 4,211-lb. curb weight, near perfect weight distribution of 50.1 front and 49.9 rear, 12.4 cu. ft. cargo room and an 18.0 gallon fuel tank.
Let’s end on price, as this is the only area where I feel BMW might have missed the mark with the new 840i. The 8-Series in my opinion should be an all eight-cylinder powered category as the inline-6, used in many other BMW cars and SUVs, is too “normal” for a $117K car that caters to a smaller demographic yet fussy consumer client. How about a 450-horse turbo eight-cylinder for the 840i trim?
Other than this concern, the 840i is a fine example of BMW’s dogma of performance and luxury. It’s also the first convertible I really enjoyed driving top down for most of my test drive miles.
Likes: Outstanding looks, special paint, state-of-art offerings.
Dislikes: Six cylinder instead of eight, very expensive options, too much gadgetry.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at email@example.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.