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Driven: BMW 840d Coupe. Image by BMW UK.

Driven: BMW 840d Coupe
The 8 Series isnít a sports car, as itís too big; but this 840d Coupe is a fabulous Grand Tourer by way of recompense.

   



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BMW 840d xDrive Coupe M Sport

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Good points: sumptuous ride, decent chassis, mighty turbodiesel engine, striking appearance, quality interior, roomy for a 2+2

Not so good: expensive in all forms, perhaps not as sharp to steer as it could be, below-par digital instrument cluster, can feel big on the roads

Key Facts

Model tested: BMW 840d Coupe xDrive M Sport
Price: 8 Series range from £71,840, 840d xDrive Coupe from £76,415
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder diesel
Transmission: eight-speed Steptronic auto, xDrive all-wheel drive
Body style: two-door coupe
CO2 emissions: 160g/km (VED Band 151-170: £530 in year one, then £465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 46.3mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
Power: 320hp at 4,400rpm
Torque: 680Nm at 1,750-2,250rpm
Boot space: 420 litres

Our view:

You've probably no doubt seen that internet meme that racing enthusiasts have cooked up about the BMW M8 GTE; you know, the one which makes hints that it's a bit of a... big unit, when all's said and done. This is enacted to hilarious effect by enlarging the M8 GTE in images so that it looks about 50 per cent more goliath than its on-track competitors. Oh, how we laughed.

Truth be told, when we first saw images of BMW's 6 Series replacement, we weren't blown away with the styling, either. However, we're prepared to swallow our pride and say we were absolutely wrong about the Eight. In reality, it's a cracking-looking thing, it really is. Proportionally, it's about spot-on, as it's long, low and wide, making you feel like you're dealing with a GT that errs on the sporting side of matters, rather than something which is going to be happier just wafting along. Admittedly, black with black wheels helps its aggressive demeanour somewhat, and there's maybe a bit too much fussy detailing in one or two places, but we love its scowling face, its sleek rear and its elegant profile equally. This Beemer is a properly head-turning vehicle, for all the right reasons.

The interior is something which is going to split opinion more than the exterior, we feel. There will be many who climb aboard and who will suggest that its cabin is not befitting of a car which is approaching six figures in most specifications, and beyond the £100,000 mark in some configurations, as it is just too similar in appearance to other, lesser BMW models. There will be others who would try and counter that accusation, defending the Eight by drawing attention to details like the crystal-glass, illuminated gearlever with an '8' motif etched into it, or the high-quality contrast stitching on every upper leather surface, or the typically brilliant iDrive/touchscreen infotainment, or the simply lovely seats.

We sort of come down in the middle: there are plenty of merits to the 8 Series, such as its rear-seat space being more generous than you might expect of a 2+2, but then the digital instrument cluster - as fine and idiosyncratic as it is - simply isn't up to snuff when compared to rival systems from other German brands, and even some Japanese and Scandi ones, too. It's not as crisply rendered, not as intuitive to use and not as easy to read at a glance as screens found in the competition. The Eight does, however, have a thoroughly bob-on driving position, nice and low in the car and with the controls perfectly sited, and the BMW head-up display remains among the best in the business at any price point.

With a largely petrol array of motors for the other Eights, including the forthcoming Convertible and Gran Coupe derivatives, this 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel unit in the 840d might seem like an anachronism. But we're here to tell you that it could very well be the ideal mate for the 8 Series' overall character. It's laid-back, quiet and refined, while it also possesses a hefty dose of mid-range punch to make this the archetypal luxury GT. Deeply impressive long-distance cruising is completely the 840d's forte, as it burrs up and down motorways with silken responses from its majestic eight-speed Steptronic gearbox and a muted, background 'woofle' to the drivetrain, all underpinning by suspension that oozes across lumps and bumps with a gentle grace. You'll be able to coax circa-52mpg from it on long runs, as we saw a weekly average of 42.2mpg across a 587-mile week in its company, so it's not only a refined delight to travel in, it should also be reasonably easy on the wallet as well.

It's also a benign car to thread around town, thanks to light, well-judged controls and excellent visibility in all directions, belying its sheer physical stature; nevertheless, there are times, especially when you're driving it harder on narrower country roads, where it starts to feel like a fish out of water. Its adaptive damping, which is so good at easing away the miles in its Comfort setting, does a grand job of controlling the 840d's shell, but there's only so much the electronics can do and eventually its 1,955kg kerb weight comes to the fore. Despite this, pleasing steering - it's still a bit too artificially hefty in Sport mode, but you can work around that by configuring the car's Individual setting to your taste - strong brakes, an abundance of mechanical grip and all the traction advantages of the xDrive AWD mean you can whip the 8 Series Coupe across the ground at fair old lick. And it's not totally inert, either, with enough there to occasionally entertain the keener driver - it's just that, in the main, you won't always be massively engaged in or delighted by the process as you go.

Still, the predecessor 6 Series was never the sharpest driving tool in the box, and the Eight's real strength is its utterly civilised nature. You could argue that it's so easy to drive on a day-to-day basis that it doesn't feel special enough for its considerable £76,000 starting price, but we think owners of this big GT coupe will be more than happy with the way it goes about its business, rather than being fussed about whether it has the ultimate dynamic edge of the best sports cars or not.

So is the 8 Series just a massive, hefty machine that deserves the mocking internet memes? No, we don't think so; rather, it's a massively good GT. And we have the sneaking suspicion that, road-going M8 aside, the suave and cultured 840d is going to be the obvious choice within BMW's grandest model range. It's a supremely talented all-rounder.

Alternatives:

Bentley Continental GT: a class above the BMW and considerably more expensive, yet it definitely feels worth the extra outlay. No diesel model yet but will that 4.0-litre biturbo V8 from the Bentayga Diesel get ported across to the Conti at some stage?

Lexus LC 500: you could choose the 350h hybrid model of this exceptional Japanese car as the Beemer's fuel-efficient rival, but we reckon the majestic 5.0-litre V8 version is the one to go for. Blows the handsome BMW away for aesthetic appeal and, incredibly, has a better interior, although its infotainment infuriates.

Mercedes S-Class Coupe: the most direct competitor for the 8 Series and a seriously capable bit of kit. Kind of feels like it sits in a zone between the Beemer and the Bentley, perhaps outclassing the former but not quite matching up to the latter.


Matt Robinson - 11 Apr 2019



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2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.

2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.2019 BMW 840d Coupe xDrive UK test. Image by BMW UK.








 

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