2023 BMW 840i Convertible Review: Easy Rider
There are sports cars, and then there are sporty cars. The 2023 BMW 840i convertible falls into the latter category. Like any full-size German machine these days, it handles well despite its size. But in this case, the car seems designed to attract customers who chose leisure and luxury over pure performance. Not to say it’s at all lacking when you press the accelerator pedal, but this particular drop-top 8 Series lends itself more to easy cruising.
What is it?
There aren’t many high-end luxury convertibles in the marketplace, and even fewer with four seats. The 840i is a reasonably big car for a two-door convertible; at 191.2 inches long, its about five inches longer than a BMW 3 Series. Though all-wheel drive is available, our test car came with the standard rear-wheel-drive. Seating is of the “2+2” variety: ample room up front for two people, and perhaps less room in the back seats. BMW launched the original 8 Series gran tourer in 1990, exclusively as a coupe, with both V-8 and V-12 engines in the mix. Though it was a technological powerhouse at the outset, BMW eventually dropped the model after 1999, before reviving it in its current form in 2019.
For 2023, the 8 Series got a mid-cycle refresh, receiving some relatively minor changes to keep it current until it’s time for an all-new version. As it was in the 1990s, the 8 Series serves as the flagship of the BMW line, targeting a relatively mature audience that wants something fun to drive without making too much of a statement. Our 840i convertible test car—it also comes as a two-door coupe or four-door “Gran Coupe“—had a list price of $94,400, and with a few modest options and shipping charges, totaled $100,045.
While the 8 Series was re-introduced in 2019 with the more powerful, twin-turbo-V-8-powered 850i, the turbocharged, straight-six 840i didn’t make an appearance until the 2020 model year. The most notable change for 2023 is an updated grille, along with a slightly revised front fascia. It wears BMW’s trademark twin-kidney grille design, presented in a more subtle form than some of the new-wave BMWs. The 8 Series makes up for that by illuminating its grille using waterfall lighting for the two grille elements, activated when the vehicle is unlocked or a door is opened. The grille also features redesigned vertical bars with a new U-shaped profile. There’s also a new 12.3-inch control display for the BMW iDrive operating system, plus two new 20-inch wheel designs, and five new colors: Skyscraper Grey, San Remo Green, Portimao Blue, Frozen Tanzanite Blue, and Frozen Pure Grey.
Specs: 2023 BMW 840i convertible
- Price: $94,400 / $100,045 (base / as-tested)
- Powertrain: 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged, inline six-cylinder; 8-speed automatic transmission
- Horsepower: 335 @ 5000–6500 rpm
- Torque: 368 lb-ft @ 1600–4500 rpm
- Layout: Two-door, four-seat convertible
- Weight: 4262 lb
- EPA-rated MPG: 21 city, 29 highway, 24 overall
- 0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
- Top speed: 130 mph (limited)
- Competitors: Mercedes-AMG SL55, upcoming Mercedes-Benz CLE, Porsche 911 cabriolet
What it does well:
On a warm, sunny day, the BMW 840i convertible is a perfect companion for top-down cruising. Wind buffeting is minimal, and if you get chilly, the optional Comfort Seating Package includes a neck warmer. The ride is supple. Steering is direct, but with minimal feedback. With the top up, it’s also very quiet; the multi-layer cloth top filters out a lot of road noise, and it raises or lowers at the touch of a button in 15 seconds. Our test car was painted Alpine White with Cognac leather interior; the front seats were comfortable even after long stints behind the wheel. Instruments and controls take a bit of getting used to—nothing an owner wouldn’t adopt as second nature in a matter of weeks—and BMW’s iDrive has evolved into a pretty helpful, intuitive system.
The 3.0-liter engine was silky smooth, and the eight-speed automatic transmission keeps the turbo six-cylinder in the meat of its torque band. Brakes were spot on, too. The car came from BMW’s busy Dingolfing, Germany factory, and build quality was superb—equaled in BMW’s lineup only by the X7 SUV.
Changes we’d make:
Compared to the timeless, elegant shape of the original 8 Series, the exterior design of the current car is a bit forgettable, especially in white. A 1997-era Chrysler Sebring convertible comes to mind. The base engine feels, well, base. A little boring, especially given that this is a heavy car and 335 horsepower is not exactly invigorating. We didn’t love the body roll on tight cornering, but to be fair, BMW offers more taut muscle the farther up 8 Series lineup you go. At a six-figure price, some people will expect more confidence-inspiring handling. Finally, this is a four-seater in name only. I’m six feet tall, and with my driver’s seat adjusted properly, there were only five inches of rear leg room. Translation: kids, groceries, and golf clubs.
Who’s it for?
The ideal buyer for the BMW 840i is an empty-nester couple who want a luxury-badge drop-top that is spirited, but not at the expense of smoothness or polish. BMW builds cars with all the performance you’d want, but the 840i is a kinder, gentler cabriolet for drivers with nothing to prove. The $100,000 price tag is objectively steep, but it’s actually less than what you’d pay for any competitor.
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