You may know that hidden deep within the dungeons of BMW M GmbH are several interesting prototypes that never came to fruition; among these is the E31 M8, a fully monstrous V12 supercar that would have answered all criticism of the original 8 Series. Alas, the BMW AG Board of Management nixed the potent supercar, banishing it from public view until displaying it at Legends Of The Autobahn in Monterey several years ago.

There’s another interesting one-off experiment down in the basement: a 5 Series convertible.

I mention both of those historical curiosities because BMW has now, in Portugal, launched the new M8 in convertible form, and if that’s not evil enough, I will add that it’s also available as the M8 Competition, which ups the ante to roughly 625 horsepower and more than 500 pound-feet of torque—516, to be exact. That should twist your Levi’s and shred about a thousand dollars’ worth of rear tires in enthusiastic burn-outs, except that—aha!—the M8 is equipped with the M xDrive system, just like the M5. (Don’t worry; it’s a rear-biased system, and as with the M5, you can foolishly switch it to rear-drive-only if you like buying tires on a regular basis.)

The M8 Competition convertible glowers in the south of Portugal.

I mention the M8 in the context of that 5 Series convertible because this platform is indeed based on the M5 architecture—even though they have somehow managed to lower the center of gravity of the M8 by about an inch.

Except for extra breathing capacity, the M8 is visually close to its 8 Series kin.

Now, purists will prefer the M8 coupe, because in M8 Competition form, it goes from zero to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds—THREE POINT TWO!—but for those who insist that it’s not a sports car unless the roof comes down, the M8 convertible looks like a rompin’, stompin’ delinquent’s delight.

The rear valence and a quartet of pipes gives a clue to the evil abilities of the M8 convertible; the tacky M badge is easy to remove.

I say looks like because we haven’t taken it to the track just yet, or even to the twisties—and even when we do, there’s an embargo on reporting the driving impressions. But at least we can show you what it looks like. We’ll be back with a full driving impression in Roundel as soon as the embargo is lifted, and a brief take on it here.—Satch Carlson

The sumptuous interior features BMW’s latest development of the M sport seats.

[Photos courtesy Satch Carlson.]



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