Judy Rae

BMW’s new 840i is the convertible you want to be seen in

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Beach Wheels

By Jeff Mitchell

I am truly a lucky guy. I get to drive, test and review a lot of new cars each year. Some are good, some are great and some — a few mind you — find a place in my heart and become fond, lasting memories.

And even though it’s now been a couple of weeks since I drove it, the BMW 840i M Series Convertible keeps flashing in my mind and bringing smiles to my face.

You see, I get excited when a manufacturer blends art and advanced engineering into one elegant package. BMW has accomplished this lofty goal with the 840i. 

Together with its slightly more powerful brother, the 850i, the new 8-Series vehicles represent BMW’s new flagships. And together, they represent some of the company’s best thinking to date.

My tester came in what BMW calls its Frozen Bluestone Metallic paint and it was gorgeous — understated yet still different from every other vehicle out there. The 840i is low-slung and possesses, dare I say it, sexy wide “hips” in the fenders which housing beautiful 20-inch twin-spoke steel alloy wheels.

While most convertibles suffer from the weird sightline bumps from their ragtops, the 840i keeps its sleek profile whether its top is buttoned up or down.

Under the hood, my 840i possessed a highly responsive 3.0-liter inline-6-cylinder dual-scroll turbocharged engine which produced 335 horsepower and 368 ft-lbs of torque. That power plant is mated to an intuitive 8-speed automatic transmission which seems to be able to read the mind of its driver. 

In “comfort” mode, this tiger is a luxury kitten that doesn’t jostle. Switch it to Sport Plus, however, and watch out as the kitten becomes a tiger. Mash the throttle down and you will be pushed back into your seat and moving at a rate, let’s just say, that the local constabulary won’t exactly appreciate. 

For the record, my 840i notched a 0-60 performance in 4.7 seconds.

The exhaust note on the 840i is amazing, too. Let’s just say that it’s throaty and its gurgles and pops do nothing to discourage one from wanting to stay out on the road and playing a little longer.

Inside the luxurious cabin you will find beautiful supportive front seating upholstered in soft Ivory Merino leather. Your seats, armrest and steering wheel are all ventilated and heated. There’s even a neck-warming device built into your seat that will allow you to drive comfortably with the top down on the most chilly winter days.

The M Sport package rounds out the exterior and interior looks in the 840i. The package provides for more aggressive bumper and body styling, larger brake systems, a thicker racing-type steering wheel and, of course, “M” badging in strategic places.

The mechanism controlling the ragtop is effortless and quick. It will even open or close while rolling — so as long as you stay under 30 mph.

Otherwise, the top goes up or folds down in about 20 seconds.

Inside the cabin, you’ll be greeted by a large head-up display projected onto the windscreen, a 7-inch-wide digital dashboard display and a 10.5-inch interactive infotainment and navigation display that is very easy and intuitive to operate. And, yes, BMW’s infamous “I-Drive” controller is found where it should be — squarely on the center console not far from where your hand naturally comes to rest while driving. 

And, almost needless to say, my tester handled out on the road like it was on rails — with highly precise steering and very sticky and stable cornering. The 840i M Series likes to go and stay fast. There were several times I would look down at my speedometer and frankly be surprised at the speed I was traveling. Above 60 mph this BMW hunkers down and really leans into the wind. It’s really nothing but a pleasure to drive.

Despite its weight being just over 4,200 pounds, my tester produced decent mileage — 22 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg out on the highway.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for my tester, as optioned, is $117,845 including the BMW Driving Assistance and Drivers Assistance packages, the M Sport Package and the Comfort Seating Package. I recommend all of them. After all, at this point, if you’re in for a penny you’re in for a pound.

The BMW 8 Series is designed to compete against other high-end coupes and convertibles such as the Mercedes-Benz CLS, Maserati Gran Turismo and the Lexus LC, among others.

Final thoughts: Okay, let’s be honest. The “elephant” in the room with any of these amazing vehicles is that they’re just not cheap — by no stretch of the imagination.

That said, I really do believe in the old saying that you get what you pay for and, if you can spring for an 8-Series, I guarantee BMW will generously reward you for the investment with a vehicle that will blow your mind and which you can be proud of for years to come. Buy with confidence.

Jeff Mitchell is a Los Angeles-based automobile writer and reviewer. Reach him at j.edward.mitchell@gmail.com

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