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A punchy town-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 gives the large luxury car genuine sports car performance

COURTESY BMW - The 2019 BMW M850i xDive Convertible is stunning looking and a real high performance vehicle that everyone will notice.The 2019 BMW M580i xDrive Convertible is a large, fast, good handling and expensive sports car masquerading as a the drop-top version of a sport sedan.

But, despite having a back seat, it is as impractical as a genuine two-seater. There is no leg room in the back seat, making it only useful for holding a few bags of groceries — which is a good thing, because the trunk is extremely limited by the spaces needed to hold the electronically-controlled top when it is down.

COURTESY BMW - The convertible top will fully retract behind rthe rear seats in 15 seconds at up to 30 miles per hour.

I'm not complaining. This is one of the few times I've been sent a convertible to test drive in the summer. By the luck of the draw, I frequently get them in the winter, so I enjoyed being able to spend so much time driving in the open air.

But make no mistake. I could have the same experience with a Mazda Miata or Fiat 124, both of which could be purchased together for less than the nearly $132,000 cost of the Bimmer. This car is marketed at people who want more — far more — than just a little fun, fun, fun in the summertime. They want serious fun in the summertime, and the 2019 BMW M580i xDrive Convertible delivers that in abundance.

For starters, as I said, the M5801 is very large for a convertible. With a long hood, muscular flanks and an oversized version of BMW's trademark dual oval grill, it makes an immediate impression everywhere it goes. Even if you're not a diehard fan of the German marque, you know this is no ordinary BMW.

The cockpit is also very roomy and comfortable, thanks in large part to the exceptionally well-designed front bucket seats. The amount of room is especially apparent when the top is folded away behind the rear seats, which only takes 15 seconds at speeds up to 30 miles an hour.

COURTESY BMW - The interior is everything a nBMW owner expects: luxurious and outfitted with the most advanced technologies.

Power is provided by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that pumps out an impressive 523 horse power and 553 foot pounds of torque. It is channeled to all four wheels by a silky smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and BMW's superb xDrive all-wheel-drive system. All four wheels also help with the steering.

Thanks to the long wheelbase, the M580i drives like a grand touring car under most conditions. But put it in Sport mode and the exhaust comes to life, the throttle response increases, the suspension tightens up, and it feels more like an attention-seeking exotic car. Most owners will probably use the Sport mode sparingly, reserving it for those special roads with light traffic and few police.

COURTESY BMW - The performance and infotainment system controls are located by the crytal gear shift knob on the center console.

In a week of test driving, the 2019 M580i xDrive proved to be remarkably solid for a convertible. The interior was very quiet when the top was in place, even on freeways when passing noisy semi-trucks. And despite not having the additional structural integrity of a roof, the car never once shook or shuddered going over broken pavement — proof positive of BMW's engineer excellence.

And, of course, it loaded with luxury, from the fine leather interior to the optional $3,400 Bowers and Wilkens sound system and the crystal gear shift knob, all of which helped justify the nearly $132,000 price tag.

Although BMW makes a lot of excellent vehicles, the 2019 M580i xDrive Convertible is probably its flagship model at the moment, displaying all of the company's advanced technologies in a dazzling package. Yes, it's fun to tool around in it with the top down, but it is also making a statement about the owner of the Ultimate Driving Convertible Machine.

COURTESY BMW - The rear seats are best reserved for small children.

2019 BMW M580i xDrive Convertible

Base price: $121,400

Price as tested: $131,395

Type: Midsize sport coupe convertible

Engine: Twin turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 (523 hp, 553 lbs-ft)

Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shift mode

Driving modes: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, Sport +

Mileage: 17/26

Length: 191.2 inches

Curb weight: 4,643 pounds

Final assembly: Dingolfing, Germany


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