The BMW 8 Series is an interesting mix of swoopy, eye-catching style, unabashed luxury and sporting promise. It’s a package that fits somewhere between the extreme refinement of the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and the sporty driving thrills of the AMG GT. It’s not quite as refined as the former, or as sharp as the latter, but as an all-rounder, it’s an impressive machine.
There’s been some criticism of the styling, which looks fussy from some angles, but there’s no doubt the interior is beautifully finished and impressively specced, with the latest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system. There’s a 4×4 drivetrain with a punchy diesel and a devastatingly quick V8 petrol in the M850i, while a big boot makes this a genuinely practical grand tourer, if you accept that the confined rear seats are only for occasional use.
11 Feb, 2019
It’s fair to say there’s not much revolutionary about the 8 Series concept. It’s a brutish two-door coupe with a long nose, swooping roofline and powerful haunches – characteristics which have been admired by performance car enthusiasts for well over half a century. The design is quite brutish and perhaps a little fussy by BMW standards, but it has plenty of presence on the road, and certainly looks more athletic and sporty than the S Class Coupe. 20-inch alloy wheels fill the arches, and the sense of the exotic is heightened by the standard LED lights or optional laser headlamps. The front grille is typical BMW with a broad double-kidney treatment and big air vents, while the side view is pure muscle car.
Under its skin the 8 Series uses BMW’s latest CLA platform with Carbon Core tech that integrates carbon-fibre into the structure. Other features of the platform technology package include GPS-controlled shifts for the auto transmission, and an advanced start-stop system using cameras as well as sensors.
Image 3 of 17
Inside the 8 Series has a very contemporary feel, although again it’s not radically different like the i8. It’s beautifully finished though, with peerless craftsmanship and extremely high quality materials. It’s also packed with all the tech you’ll find in an equivalent range-topping 7 Series saloon.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The core of the infotainment system is built around BMW’s 12.3-inch live cockpit digital dashboard and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen. These are backed up by a standard-fit head-up display that projects vital info onto the windscreen. It’s all very highly specced and operates via BMW’s extremely slick latest iDrive system with its knurled control knob situated next to the transmission shifter. The only bugbear is the absence of Android Auto, but in all other respects it’s a masterclass in intuitive connectivity.
The BMW 8 Series is a big beast, and as a result has nothing like the agility of smaller more focused rivals such as the Porsche 911. It can’t match the Lexus LC or Aston Martin Vantage for steering feel or responsiveness either, but put the BMW up against the Mercedes S-Class Coupe, and it feels less wallowy and better tied down.
There’s certainly no shortage of grip from the BMW’s meaty tyres, while Sport driving mode stiffens up the dampers, brings a bit more edginess into steering and throttle responses, and feeds fake engine noises into the cabin for a bit more drama. We suspect most owners will settle for Comfort mode which gives a softer ride, but doesn’t make the 8 Series any less impressive through corners.
In particular, the BMW impresses with only nominal body lean, and the carefully balanced active 4WD system always gives the feel of a rear-wheel-drive car, while delivering spectacular grip under acceleration. The M variant has four-wheel steering for even greater agility, but it never masks the vehicle’s bulk.
The ride quality is generally excellent, although some larger imperfections can introduce a bit of crashiness. The 8-speed automatic makes seamless changes when left to its own devices, but shows lightning reactions if you choose to override the computer using steering wheel paddles.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
There are only two engines at the moment, the entry-level being a 3.0-litre diesel straight-six producing 316bhp and a hefty 680Nm of torque. It may be something of a hard sell post diesel-gate, but there’s little doubt that its performance characteristics suit the big BMW well. It’s a unit that feels unstressed and unstrained, and while it has a lazy, easy-driving feel, a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds and 155mph top speed are pretty muscular.
The mighty M850i is a different kettle of fish altogether, with a roaring twin-turbo 4.4 V8 making 523bhp and 750Nm. That delivers 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds.
There’s no Euro NCAP independent crash test data for the BMW 8 Series, but as one of the German marque’s flagship models, it comes loaded with all the safety kit you can imagine. There aren’t many cars on the road that can boast a similar array of cameras and sensors intended to create a protective monitoring zone all around the car, and as you would expect there’s a full complement of passive and active safety technology, including intelligent active cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and emergency autonomous braking.
The head-up display should help to keep the driver focused, in spite of the potential distraction of the car’s impressive infotainment screens. The basic structural engineering of the 8 Series, with it’s extremely rigid Carbon Core platform, stands you in good stead too if the worst should happen.
Image 8 of 17
The news on the reliability front may not be quite so positive, as the Auto Express Driver Power Survey results placed BMW as a brand in 21st place out of 26 manufacturers ahead of the 8 Series launch – lagging behind Mercedes, Jaguar and particularly Lexus.
The standard BMW warranty applies to the 8 Series, which means you get three-years cover with unlimited mileage – the same offer as Mercedes. You can also extend the warranty a year at a time for extra cash, as long as you’ve kept up to date with servicing and inspection requirements. It’s not a brilliant warranty package compared to some, but it’s better than Audi which limits you to 60,000 miles.
The 8 Series has a service regime based on usage and constantly monitored oil quality, and while most can expect an annual service, some owners may find it stretches out to two years. Servicing costs won’t be as high as some exotic rivals, but the cost of wear items like brakes and tyres will be high.
If you can handle its overall size – the 8 Series is longer than some SUVS – this is a practical grand touring machine for two passengers. It’s nominally a four-seater, but humans with legs will not enjoy attempting to access the rear seats. Up front there are plenty of practical touches though, with twin cup-holders, a big glovebox and decently-sized door pockets. In spite of the car’s dimensions, practicality is helped by automatic parking assistance and all-round parking sensors and cameras.
At 4,843mm long and 1,902mm wide, there’s no doubt the 8 Series takes up lots of space in the garage. From a size perspective it splits the difference between a Mercedes S-Class Coupe and the Aston Martin DB11. The Porsche 911 is noticeably smaller at 4,499mm x 1,808mm, and the Mercedes AMG GT is shorter but wider than the BMW at 4,546mm x 1,939mm.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
Nobody will complain about the passenger space in the front seats. You sit quite low and there’s a cosy feel thanks to the broad transmission tunnel, but there’s plenty of leg, elbow and headroom. The seats are supremely comfortable and supportive, and there’s plenty of adjustment in both the seats and the steering wheel.
The situation in the back couldn’t be more different. There’s virtually no legroom at all, even for children, and the car’s swoopy roofline means headroom is also severely compromised.
Image 5 of 17
The BMW 8 Series boot is definitely a good size, and with 420-litres of luggage space it outdoes some family hatchbacks. True, the shape of the boot lid and opening means it’s not the most practical space to access, but for the luxury coupe class, it’s not too bad.
You even get 50:50 split-fold rear seats that are operated from inside the boot when you need more space. The bootlid is power assisted for hands-free operation, too.
Tiresome though the news may be, if you’re forced to factor running costs into your new car purchase, it’s highly unlikely the M850i is the right model for you. BMW says it will cover 28.8mpg under WLTP test constraints, but if you’re even slightly tempted by its phenomenal performance, the true MPG figure will drop like a stone. Driven briskly, we certainly wouldn’t be surprised by MPG in the teens – high or low.
Equally the 224g/km of CO2 emitted under test conditions is unlikely to match real world use, but at least that won’t cost anything more from a financial perspective. The car is in the maximum Benefit-in-Kind bracket, too, so you’ll be whacked by the tax man if you run an M850i on the company, although it’s a similar story for any high-performance company car – unless it’s a hybrid or electric.
The BiK rate is the same for the diesel 840d, but 160g/km of CO2 should be a little less offensive to the green lobby. The potential mixed driving economy of up to 46.3mpg will be less hard on your pocket, too. It’s a similar figure to that achieved by the BMW 7 Series saloon with the same 3.0-litre engine. The extra economy pays dividends with range – you’ll be spared filling up so often on those trans-continental jaunts, as the range is a realistic 500 miles.
Image 4 of 17
The Association of British Insurers has assessed both the new 8 Series models as insurance group 50, which means sky-high premiums for anyone not on a multi-car company-type policy, or on very good terms with their broker. It’s no surprise though, as all high performance and luxury cars are expensive to cover.
Demand is likely to be strong for the 8 Series in the first few years, and at launch it has predicted residuals of 52-54 per cent after three years. Given the current lower demand for diesel, the 840d is at the lower end of the scale, while the M850i is better served. The coupe holds on to slightly more of its value than the Convertible, too. In comparison, the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and hangs on to anything from 41-56 per cent of its value after three years and 36,000 miles.
Source: – autoexpress
BMW 8 Series review