LA preview: 2019 BMW 8 Series convertible

532 horsepower, four seats, and no roof.

The new BMW 8 Series is preparing to run around Los Angeles topless. The Munich-based company has introduced the 8 Series Convertible ahead of its debut at the annual Los Angeles auto show.

The 8 Series Convertible fills the void left by the 6 Series Convertible in the BMW portfolio. It's identical to the 8 Series coupe introduced recently with the notable exception of the roof. BMW chose not to fit its newest roadster with a power-retractable hard top and instead installed a fabric roof that opens and closes in 15 seconds at the push of a button. Buyers can select whether they want the top in black (standard) or silver (optional).

The interior comes from the coupe, too, meaning the 8 Series Convertible comes with four seats, upmarket materials, and BMW's iDrive 7 infotainment technology. It's displayed on a 10.2-inch screen located on the dashboard. The passengers can navigate the infotainment system's menus by poking the screen, by turning the dial on the center console, or -- for a few commands -- with gesture controls. The driver sits in front of a 12.3-inch screen that replaces the instrument cluster.

At launch, the line-up will include a single model called M850i xDrive. It's equipped with a twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V8 engine tuned to send 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque to the four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. In real life, these numbers translate to a 3.8-second sprint from zero to 60 mph and a top speed of 155 mph.

The 2019 BMW 8 Series Convertible will join the coupe model in showrooms in March 2019. Pricing starts at $121,400 before BMW factors in a mandatory $995 destination charge. The third and final member of the born-again 8 Series line-up, a sedan aimed at the Porsche Panamera, will likely make its debut at the 2019 Geneva auto show.

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