The new BMW 8 Series range is being steadily filled, with the introduction of the Convertible and M8 variants over the past year. Now, Munich has added one more body style to the lineup, and it’s quite a looker – say hello to the brand new G16 8 Series Gran Coupé.
A more practical alternative to its two-door siblings, this four-door coupé nevertheless retains the muscular visual appeal of the others. After all, it sports the same aggressive shark nose front end, with slim headlights (raised slightly here compared to the Coupé and the Convertible), broad trapezoidal double kidney grille and that jutting jawline of a front apron.
It’s the roofline that sees the biggest difference. The A-pillars are steeper than it is on the Coupé, leading to a taller height (up 61 mm, to 1,407 mm) that BMW says provides greater headroom both at the front and the rear. Likewise, the rear windscreen is more upright to make way for increased luggage space, but the profile is masked by C-pillar fins that sweep gracefully towards the rear deck.
To fit the rear doors, the Gran Coupé is 231 mm longer than the other models at 5,082 mm, with 201 mm of that going into the 3,023 mm wheelbase. The glasshouse has also been stretched, and the Hoffmeister kink is almost vertical in this application to increase the size of the C-pillars, lending an air of solidity.
The Coupé’s wide-set hips have been retained by widening the rear track by some 28 mm to 1,671 mm, the widest on any production BMW. This emphasises the swollen rear haunches and increases the width of the car by 30 mm to 1,932 mm, made even more prominent by the broad three-dimensional L-shaped tail lights.
As usual, you can specify the car as an M Sport variant, on top of which you can add an M Technic package that adds extended Shadow Line trim and an additional bootlid spoiler. The new Carbon package, as the name suggests, throws in a carbon fibre roof as well as other bits and pieces including the air intake trims, door mirror caps, rear diffuser insert and rear spoiler, all in carbon.
Step inside and again things are very familiar, with a longitudinal centre console that remains angled towards the driver, in typical BMW style. The console continues to the rear cabin, where you’ll find air vents, twin USB-C ports and controls for the optional four-zone climate control.
Despite this, there’s still a token centre seat – with a full three-point seat belt, no less – for use on short journeys, although the outer seats, which are designed as bucket seats with integrated headrests to match the front, are still where you’d want to be if you’re relegated to the back. To increase the sense of space, there’s an optional panoramic glass sunroof that’s exclusive to the Gran Coupé.
As you’d expect from a flagship BMW, the 8er GC comes with a wealth of standard equipment, including the touchscreen BMW Display Key and the Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system with twin 12.3-inch displays. Also standard is a powered bootlid with handsfree opening, under which sits a 440 litre boot that can be expanded by folding the 40:20:40-split rear seats.
There’s an even longer list of options that contain features such as BMW Individual Merino full leather upholstery, M Sport seats, 16-speaker, 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system and multifaceted glass switchgear – including a glittering crystal gearknob with an illuminated “8” symbol.
While the Gran Coupé is derived directly from the two-door, BMW has made a few weight-saving measures to offset the penalty of the longer body and extra doors. The doors, roof, bonnet, front shear panel, engine subframe, front bulkhead and rear bumper support are still aluminium, while the plastic bootlid, magnesium dashboard support and carbon fibre centre tunnel all mean that the four-door weighs just 70 kg more.
The extra wheelbase length is said to provide a calmer ride by enabling the chassis to be retuned without compromising the car’s sporty driving demeanour. The car continues to feature mostly aluminium double-wishbone front suspension and a five-link rear axle, featuring adaptive M suspension as standard – the latter featuring bespoke tuning for the GC. All-wheel steering is standard on all all-wheel drive models, while active roll stabilisation and larger M Sport brakes can be found on the options list.
With the Gran Coupé, the engine lineup sees the introduction of a new entry-level petrol variant, the 840i. Power comes from a revamped 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six that produces 340 hp at 5,000 to 6,500 rpm and 500 Nm of torque between 1,600 up and 4,500 rpm. As ever, it’s paired to an eight-speed automatic, and for the first time on an 8 Series model, you can get this model with rear-wheel drive.
Even though this is the cheapest petrol 8 Series you can buy, don’t for a minute be fooled into thinking it’s slow, with zero to 100 km/h flashing by in just 5.2 seconds. Of course, xDrive all-wheel drive is still offered as an option, and that will shave 0.3 seconds off the sprint time, dropping it down to 4.9 seconds.
The rest of the lineup is carried over, with the 840d xDrive being powered by a twin-turbo diesel version of the straight-six, churning out 320 hp at 4,400 rpm and 680 Nm from 1,750 to 2,250 rpm. This one gets to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds whilst also being capable of delivering a combined fuel consumption figure of between 6.2 to 6.3 litres per 100 km on the combined NEDC cycle.
For now (at least before the M8 version surfaces), the range is topped by the M850i xDrive, which gets a 4.4 litre biturbo V8 that serves up 530 hp between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm and 750 Nm from 1,800 to 4,600 rpm, allowing it to blitz the 100 km/h benchmark in just 3.9 seconds. Both the 840i and M850i xDrive are offered as standard with an M Sport differential, which is available as an option on other models.
As with other 8 Series models, the Gran Coupé is offered with a full suite of driver assistance and connectivity features. The optional Driving Assistant Professional package adds Active Cruise Control with Stop and Go and the steering and lane control assistant to provide semi-autonomous driving, and also features Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection that can steer out of harm’s way.
Other features in the Driving Assistant Professional include evasion aid (now detects pedestrians), rear collision warning, priority warning, wrong-way warning and crossing traffic warning (now with braking intervention). Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking is fitted as standard, as is a revised head-up display with a projection area that is now 16% larger than before.
Parking Assistant is available as an option and now includes the Reversing Assistant that traces the previous completed parking manoeuvre backwards. The Parking Assistant Plus package adds a 360-degree monitor with three-dimensional rendering, plus a Remote 3D View function for smartphones. Also optional is BMW Night Vision which uses the headlights to mark pedestrians, animals and other objects on the display.
The usual BMW Connected features are offered alongside Open Mobility Cloud, allowing access to the car’s features from digital devices such as the iPhone and Apple Watch, Android smartphones and smartwatches, Amazon Alexa and Google Home. There’s also an NFC-enabled Digital Key (launches with selected Samsung smartphones), Remote Software Upgrade as well as Microsoft Office 365 with Skype for Business.
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