Sleek, sophisticated four-door based on range-topping 8 Series
Like the look of the new BMW 8 Series Coupé but need a little more space for the family? Obligingly, BMW has come up with the solution. The new 8 Series Gran Coupe has all the slinky, sexy style of the Coupé but manages to be a practical four-seater too, with space for a fifth occupant in the rear seat (provided he/she is child-sized or the journey isn’t too long).
DESIGNThe 8 Gran Coupe is quite a looker – some might even prefer it to the Coupé. The extra 201mm in the wheelbase and 231mm in total length gives an elegant sweep to the low, sculpted lines while retaining a coupé-like profile. From the front there’s the same aggressive stance, big double-kidney grille and slim Icon Adaptive LED headlights (BMW Laserlights optional) as the other 8 Series but the windscreen is less steeply raked, headroom is more generous, and the track is wider too. The stunning glass roof flows into the frameless rear window for a sense of space and light within the spacious interior, while the seats are M Sport designs in extended Merino leather. Despite all this extra space and luxury, the four-door Gran Coupé is only 70kg heavier than the Coupé (BMW claims it’s stiffer too).
Mirroring the 8 Series Coupé and Convertible range, the 8 Series Gran Coupé comes with a choice of three powertrains. The rear-drive petrol straight-six 840i boasts 336bhp for a 0-62mph time of 5.2secs. Next up is the diesel 840d xDrive, a six-cylinder turbodiesel that develops 316bhp; 0-62mph takes just 4.9 seconds. Performance flagship 850i xDrive is powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that develops 523bhp and hits the 0-62mph benchmark in a mere 3.7 seconds. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system sends the engine’s power to the rears under normal driving conditions to help with efficiency; only when the car detects slip is some power diverted to the front for extra grip. BMW’s Integral Active Steering (rear-wheel steering) is standard with xDrive, too.
As with other 8 Series models, the Gran Coupé comes as standard with BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which offers high levels of connectivity. Instrumentation and infotainment comprise a high-resolution 12.3-inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a second 10.25-inch Control Display for secondary information, entertainment and controls. Other features include an adaptive nav system, a 20GB hard-drive-based multimedia system with two USB ports, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi interfaces. Options include a choice of Comfort and Technology packs as well as a Bowers and Wilkins immersive audio system.
The 8 Series’ driver assistance systems combine camera images with data gathered by ultrasonic and radar sensors to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, warn of potential hazards and minimise the risk of an accident. The Cruise Control system has a braking function as well as Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking, which also alerts the driver when a cyclist is detected. Another standard feature, BMW Head-Up Display, projects information onto the windscreen in the form of graphics so the driver’s focus can stay on the road ahead. For safer night driving, the optional Laserlight with variable road illumination and Selective Beam has a high beam range of around 600 metres.
Verdict: The 8 Series Gran Coupé sits between the 8 Coupé (with its 2+2 accommodation), and the business-class formality of the 7 Series. It’s a four-door performance flagship for owners who wouldn’t dream of letting someone else behind the wheel, but who still need the ability to accommodate four in comfort over long distances. As such it’s the very definition of a grand tourer, and it’s a real head-turner too.