BMW tests whether its 8-Series Convertible can stand the heat in Death Valley

Just as BMW is getting around to launching the all-new, second-generation 8-Series Coupe while teasing the four-door Gran Coupe variant, Munich’s finest officially released photos teasing the droptop variant as well. So while the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe had its work cut out for it, it appears the S-Class Cabriolet will as well.

The latest press release comes from Death Valley in Nevada, during a heat test run that included drives to Las Vegas. With temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit, along with extremely dusty conditions, the extreme climate is perfect for automakers from around the world to research, develop, and test the heat tolerances of their newly engineered vehicles.

Specifically, the focus is on how the engine manages in ambient hot conditions, as heat is one of its biggest enemies. Without efficient and durable cooling capabilities, an internal-combustion engine won’t perform well and will also consume more fuel. It also tests the wear and durability of internal engine components under sustained loads and in consistently hot running conditions.

Engineers also use the differences in the air quality to tweak the engine’s control unit so that its brain can know how to adjust its air-to-fuel ratio since hot air is less dense than cold air.

Hot weather testing isn’t the only form of rigorous experimentation the 8-Series Convertible will be undergoing. The car’s electrical engineers also want to take a detailed drive around the Hoover Dam to study exactly how the stronger electromagnetic fields produced by massive industrial powerplants interfere with the 8-Series’ computers and wireless connectivity features.

The company also announced that its next stage of testing goes from extreme hot to extreme cold, in Arjeplog, Sweden. There, the 8-Series Convertible will go through its paces in extreme cold conditions. The succeeding research and development stages also include extensive driving tests in Southern France and on the grueling Nürburgring racetrack.

Sales for the 8-Series hardtop coupe begin later this year, with the initial launch model being the M850i xDrive. It will feature a twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive.

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