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First drive: BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.

First drive: BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe
The BMW 8 Series trilogy is complete; we drive the elegant new 840i Gran Coupe.

 



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BMW 840i Gran Coupe

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Like the 6 Series Gran Coupe that went before it, the new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is expected to be the best-selling of the three body styles. It arrives at the same time as a new 840i model, which will be the only rear-drive version of the 8 Series available. Makes sense for us to test the two together, doesn't it?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe
Pricing: from 69,340 on-the-road
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: four-door, five-seat saloon
CO2 emissions: 168g/km (VED Band 151-170: 530 in year one)
Combined economy: 37.7-38.2mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.2 seconds
Power: 340hp at 5,000-6,500rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 1,600-4,500rpm
Boot space: 440 litres

What's this?

The third and final installation of the BMW 8 Series trilogy, following on from the two-door Coupe and Convertible variants. The Gran Coupe is a four-door, five-seat machine in the same style as the two-door versions, but to achieve more commodious rear seating, it gets 201mm extra bodywork in the wheelbase. That's complemented by a more upright windscreen, leading to a 61mm higher roofline and unique rear window treatment, while the redesigned (and rather shapely, we hope you agree) rear flanks increase the body width by a full 30mm over the equivalent 8 Series Coupe.

Inside, there's a lavish standard specification that includes soft leather upholstery (even on the dashboard and door cards), BMW's impressive-looking two-screen digital dashboard layout and four-zone climate control. The rear seats are shaped to look and feel a little like those in the front, though, if you look closer at the images, you'll see that there's an extra seatbelt in the middle, for occasional use no doubt. The rear seat backs split and fold down, opening up the 440-litre boot, which is accessible via an electrically opening lid.

The 8 Series Gran Coupe range kicks off with the car tested here, the rear-drive 840i. Like all versions of the 8 Series, it gets an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Pricing is from 69,340 on-the-road. The 840d xDrive Gran Coupe costs from 73,915, while the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe is priced at 97,720. And if that's not enough firepower for you, an M8 Gran Coupe is just around the corner.

How does it drive?

BMW has nailed the brief of the 8 Series Gran Coupe: it's a distinctly sporty car that happens to seat five people. So long as you're ok with that and you're not expecting it to rival the BMW 7 Series for luxury and refinement, then you're going to get on well with the four-door 8 Series. Saying that, the extra-long wheelbase of the Gran Coupe helps with cruising comfort on the motorway, even if it does feel a little less agile than the 8 Series Coupe in the corners.

That's the case even if you fit the optional four-wheel steering (Integral Active Steer in BMW-speak - it's standard on Gran Coupes fitted with xDrive four-wheel drive), which, as ever, helps high-speed direction-change stability, low-speed cornering agility and, potentially most important of all for buyers living in town, manoeuvrability when parking. The regular steering gearing and weighting makes the Gran Coupe a pleasure to drive at all speeds.

Naturally, that weighting alters depending on driving mode, though we'd never consider it too 'heavy', even in the Sport Plus setting. That particular mode does, however, make the otherwise excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox a little too keen to hold a low gear. This brawny 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six just doesn't need that, what with 500Nm of torque produced at 1,600-4,500rpm and peak power of 340hp kicking in shortly after. It's a lovely unit with smooth manners at low revs and a stirring sound when you push it out to the redline.

We found that the most satisfying way to drive the car, when on an interesting road, was to use the regular Sport setting and then switch the transmission into manual mode. It's quick to respond to taps of the paddles behind the steering wheel and won't change up even if you're at the rev limiter. Adaptive damping is standard as well, and there's a useful range between the Comfort and Sport driving modes. The operation of the standard electronically controlled rear differential, which subtly assists with traction and stability, is also altered depending on driving mode.

Through all this, the brake pedal is perfectly weighted, and the car is wonderfully balanced and biddable. No, it isn't as agile as the regular 8 Series Coupe, but it's a far better everyday proposition that can still play the sports coupe role when you feel in the mood.

Verdict

It's not difficult to understand why the 840i Gran Coupe is likely to be the best-selling version of the whole 8 Series range globally. It has all the looks and most of the ability of its more expensive siblings, mixing alluring design with a smooth powertrain and willing chassis. It's not cheap to buy, but you certainly get what you pay for.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Shane O'Donoghue - 25 Sep 2019









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2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.

2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.2020 BMW 840i M Sport Gran Coupe. Image by BMW.








 

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