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2023 BMW M8 Competition Convertible Review: Momma, I Made It

A $160,000 ode to yourself

2023 BMW M8 Competition Convertible hard front

Vanity, hedonism and self-indulgence are all generally frowned upon for a number of relatively well-founded reasons. They're bland pursuits with vapid, empty motivations. We as human beings often seek purpose, and those who don't are generally seen as the outliers — or so we'd like to believe. There are exceptions to every rule, however, and the 2023 BMW M8 Competition convertible might just serve as the antidote to all your predilections about the pursuit of nothing but pleasure.

Some cars are merely transport — little pods that take you somewhere and are just good enough for the day-to-day grind. Some are celebrants at the altar of technology that want to wow you at every turn and occasionally frustrate you shortly thereafter. Others are mind-bendingly fast, and yet more chase lap times. But there are some that rise above the rest and desperately just want you to have a good time.

2023 BMW M8 Competition convertible rear 3/4
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That's the M8 convertible in a nutshell. It isn't the quickest, sharpest or most luxurious thing with four wheels, and its job isn't to be any of those things anyway. But boy-oh-boy, does it get under your skin in a way not too many other cars can, even at its lofty as-tested price of $168,370. As an added bonus it exists in a sea of BMWs that stand in as antonyms for words like beautiful or handsome, but the M8 convertible manages to be a lot of both. In fact, it's the last of the modern crop of BMWs that I would call truly beautiful.

While the M8 technically isn't the quickest car in its price bracket, that's really only because it isn't a 911 Turbo Cabriolet. BMW claims the 617-horsepower 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood will rocket this 4,465-pound drop top from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, but in our testing we beat that estimate by a tenth. That 0.1-second gap might not seem like much, but we report our acceleration numbers without subtracting the customary 1-foot rollout. Other, more giving publications do, but that means this big Bimmer is quicker than its makers think and it doesn't even need the helping hand of a generous correction factor to do it.

Whether you're on a test track, a backroad, or just a-cruisin' down the highway, acceleration is effortless. BMW has cracked the code with this V8 — it's been constantly developing the same engine platform (codenamed S63) since it made its debut in the X5 M of 2010. The result is a silky smoothness and a linearity that similar engines from other manufacturers haven't quite been able to replicate. Power builds in tidy lockstep with the revs as they rise all the way to the M8's 7,200 rpm redline. It almost feels naturally aspirated once you get past the 553 lb-ft gut punch of torque at 1,800 rpm.

2023 BMW M8 Competition convertible front 3/4

As is the case with all good things, the S63 V8 found here is no more — it's already been replaced with an updated mild hybrid version found in the new top-trim X7 (codenamed S68). But, as send-offs go, there isn't a better place for it than right here. There's an energy, a gravitas and an eagerness to this powertrain that gives the M8 almost all of its charm — the rest of it comes from the fabric top, especially when, well, it isn't there. With the top down and the exhaust in look-at-me mode, there are few more satisfying feelings than putting your foot down and leaping toward the horizon as the air rushes over the very steeply raked windshield.

It'll happily slither its way up a twisty stretch of road, but the M8 is far more a grand tourer than it is a sports car — and so it should be. The long hood, high doorsills and low seating position swallow you in and wrap you in a cocoon of Bavarian luxury. As you lie back in your heated and/or cooled (yes, you can run both at the same time) Merino leather-trimmed bucket seat, you really get to appreciate the sheer goodness of your surroundings. Everything is diamond-quilted and beautifully stitched up, the whole interior has a bank-vault like solidity to it, and with the top up it's just as quiet and relaxing as its coupe counterpart.

The week we had wasn't enough time to stretch the big BMW's legs, but it did remind me of another, similarly positioned convertible I once took on a 600-plus-mile journey up California's verdant coastline. The old Maserati GranTurismo Convertible was arguably better-looking, better-sounding and more exotic, but even with all of its charm, the poor thing just didn't work. The transmission was as cooperative as an old donkey, the ride was appalling for such a big grand tourer, and the in-car tech wasn't just old, it was about as usable as an Omega without a minute hand. The opposite is true in the BMW, and that might just be the best thing about it. It performs without giving you a headache.

2023 BMW M8 Competition convertible interior

Here, there's no startup nonsense, no sacrifices you have to make to enjoy this $100,000-plus gift to yourself, and no excuses you have to make on behalf of a Looney Tunes villain of a CEO. The infotainment setup is logical and never glitches, the advanced driver assist systems work as advertised without a load of marketing hogwash behind them, you don't have to worry about trim pieces breaking off, and there is simply no corner-cutting anywhere. Everything blends together in the sort of harmony that supports and enables you to forget about the small stuff and worry about what you really want to be doing: driving. The M8 is a masterclass in how doing things without moving fast or breaking stuff might just be the right way to do them.

So go ahead. Let the top down, cruise up your favorite stretch of seaside tarmac, blast Groove Armada through the top-notch stereo, and rumble past your troubles from behind the wheel of your V8 thunderstorm. Sometimes it pays to love yourself just that little bit extra, and the M8 Competition convertible is proof. It puts a smile on your face like few other cars on sale right now can, and it accomplishes that mission with headroom to spare.

Edmunds says

As you can probably tell, we're big fans of the M8 convertible. We just hope when BMW decides to replace it, it does the name real justice.