If every BMW is still to be the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' promised by the advertising, then that slogan must mean many things. Sharp, rewarding handling for most is what this brand is all about but in some market segments, other virtues are just as important. Take up-market large luxury convertibles. Cars like Mercedes' S-Class Cabriolet and the Porsche 911 Cabriolet are all about Grand Touring - fast, stylish cruising, something BMW has more experience in providing than you might expect, with a product heritage in such cars stretching all the way back to the 327 Sports Convertible of the late Thirties. And all the way forward to this car, the 8 Series Convertible.
This model's predecessor, the 6 series Convertible, was a relatively rare sight on British roads. Despite a hefty price tag, it offered performance, rear seat room and boot space all little better than a BMW 4 Series Convertible costing half as much. It was a car that sold on cachet - and that wasn't enough to tempt significant numbers of wealthy buyers from their Mercedes, Jaguar and Porsche models. This 8 Series model though, is a different proposition.