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.