Even though BMW’s all-new 8-Series Convertible is a tad smaller than Mercedes-Benz‘s S-Class Cabrio, there’s no denying that they’re aimed at the same market and that there a lot of parallels to be drawn between the two, especially if you look at them as luxury 2+2 drop tops.
Otherwise, you’re faced with the fact that the S-Class is bigger and considerably more expensive, but we’ll get into those figures a little later on. First, let’s talk about aesthetics.
Plenty of glamour to go around
You can argue that BMW did a very solid job with the new 8-Series, as the car looks properly sporty and elegant at the same time, something the old 6-Series Coupe/Cabrio wasn’t as good at.
It all starts with that wide kidney grille and those sharp headlights, which together with the dual-crease hood and aggressive-looking front bumper give the 8er a really menacing “face”. It’s almost like it’s angry about something.
Move to the rear and you’ll find a slightly more elegant demeanor, although it’s certainly nowhere near as stylish as the Mercedes, whose design language could almost be described as timeless.
The sheer size of the S-Class Cabriolet also goes on to help it in the styling department. The bigger the wheelbase, the more you can afford to stretch out the exterior design and make the product look sleeker – it’s why the two-door versions of the S-Class tend to look better proportioned than their C-Class and E-Class siblings.
Just how big of a difference is there you ask? Well, the 8-Series Convertible measures 4,851 mm (190.9 in) in length, 1,902 mm (74.8 in) in width, 1,345 mm (52.9 in) in height and has a 2,822 mm (111.1 in) wheelbase. The S-Class Cabrio on the other hand is 5,051 mm (198.8 in) long, 1,913 mm (75.3 in) wide, stands 1,428 mm (56.2 in) tall and has a 2,945 mm (115.9 in) long wheelbase.
The very best in on-board tech
Regardless of which of the two you prefer, know that they both feature the very best when it comes to available on-board technology. The S-Class is still Mercedes’ most popular luxury nameplate, whereas the 8-Series is also right up there with Bavaria’s finest, like the 7-Series and the X7.
What you might not be able to escape is that sensation of timeless luxury that you get in the Mercedes, while the BMW has a more modern-looking dashboard, which also happens to be driver-focused (somewhat), unlike the S-Class’.
While we’re sure that most of you can appreciate both interiors, we reckon buyers will simply go for whichever model best suits their image, especially since from a practical standpoint, the two cars are indeed similar: both are ultra-expensive convertibles with potent engines, excellent tech and well-put-together interiors.
Speaking of money, this BMW M850i xDrive Convertible has been assigned a base price of $121,400 in the U.S., making it $9,500 more expensive than the Coupe version. The S-Class costs more, any way you look at it: the entry-level S 560 Cabriolet is priced from $133,300, whereas the AMG-powered S63 version will set you back at least $179,500.
So there you have it. Sure, they may not compare all that well from all points of view, but the bottom line is this: If you want a large luxury 2+2 convertible and you’d love to shortlist something that’s sort of in the same ballpark as the Mercedes S-Class, your only alternative is the new BMW 8-Series, at least until Bentley launches its all-new Continental GTC that is.