We couldn’t tell you about it in our story on the new 8 Series last week because of embargoes, but BMW showed us the convertible version of the new 8 while we were in Portugal recently.
Unlike the M850i we drove, the convertible had a more elegant look devoid of all the carbon pack stuff, although you can have it if you want it.
The four-layer cloth roof can be opened or closed in 15 seconds at speeds up to 50km/h, above a cabin that, as with the coupe, has a distinct lack of rear legroom. Strictly a 2+2 this one. That will suit many owners fine though, with the 8 Series convertible offering open-top touring when it arrives in SA in 2019 next year for those who prefer to keep that rear seat space for luggage.
However, the convertible does have 350l of boot space with the roof open and the rear seat backs can be folded down to get in larger items.
The single M850i model will weigh in at 125kg more than the coupe due to the additional straightening required and Sarah Lessmann of the 8 Series product management team told us that it loses just 3% of its rigidity compared to the coupe.
BMW is hoping the new 8 Series convertible will steer a few people away from the beautiful Mercedes S-Class convertible but also take a few customers away from more expensive models like the Bentley Continental GTC when it comes along.
VW and Ford to collaborate
Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Co are said to be in speculative talks to jointly develop self-driving and electric vehicles.
Both these mass-market companies will soon provide more info on such an alliance before year end, an unnamed insider told Reuters.
"Our (memorandum of understanding) with VW covers conversations about potential collaborations across a number of areas. It is premature to share additional details at this time," a Ford spokesman said.
A Volkswagen spokesman said the car maker was open to deeper alliances with outside companies, particularly in the area of autonomous driving, while adding that "sharing the car maker’s electric cars platform MEB with Ford was theoretically possible, although VW is currently focused on rolling out the electric vehicle technologies among its own brands".
Spokesmen for both manufacturers would only reiterated what they have said before about the companies collaborating on the development of commercial vehicles.
Car makers globally are discussing teaming up to share the cost of developing autonomous and electric vehicles. Honda said in November it would invest $2.75bn and take a stake in General Motors’ Cruise Automation self-driving vehicle unit to jointly develop autonomous vehicles for deployment in ride service fleets globally.
VW and Ford are under pressure to roll out more EVs in Europe, where emissions rules are being tightened in the wake of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions pollution scandal.
Burly Merc shreds green hell record
The new four-door Mercedes-AMG GT 63 4Matic has completed a lap of the Nürburging-Nordschleife (nicknamed the "green hell") in a time of 7min 25.41sec, setting a record for the fastest series production four-seater around the revered race track.
The record was set by AMG development engineer Demian Schaffert and the 470kW car wore optionally available Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tyres.
Future Jags and Landies to stop nausea in its tracks
Future Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will understand when and how to keep nausea at bay while travelling. The brand has been researching motion sickness and says that by using biometric sensors to record physiological signals, it has created an algorithm to gauge the condition of passengers. It is able to analyse before the human body warns a person that they’re getting nauseous.
Motion sickness mostly occurs in children, but adults also suffer from sick feelings in the car. JLR said 70% of people experience motion sickness. The circumstance occurs when the eyes take in information that differs from what the inner ear and skin sense. Often, motion sickness happens while passengers read since their eyes do not register other forces in the car. JLR says its system reduces motion sickness by up to 60%.
JLR says the car stops nausea by automatically adapting its dynamics and cockpit settings, without giving details on how. JLR said it’s important to continue research on minimising motion sickness, especially as we approach a time when self-driving cars begin to take off. With more time in the car to perform other tasks, automakers will need to ensure passengers don't dread self-driving cars.