The market of luxury super coupes does have some of the world’s most iconic cars – with the Mercedes S-Class Coupe, Bentley Continental GT and Porsche 911 all offering high-end quality in a sleek and stylish package.
BMW has now decided to throw its hat into the ring, and has done so by bringing back the 8 Series name, which was last on sale back in 2002.
We’ll say right away that this one definitely doesn’t have pop-up headlights or a massive V12 engine, but it is the German brand’s new flagship – and that makes it very important to BMW’s image.
So can this be as iconic as its predecessor and help BMW stake a claim for the luxury coupe market?
The 8 Series will be available with two engines – the 840d six-cylinder diesel and the M Performance 850i V8 petrol. We got behind the wheel of the latter and despite not being a full-on M model, the 4.4-litre, twin-turbocharged unit develops 523bhp and 750Nm of torque and is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and xDrive all-wheel drive system.
The combination is excellent and allows the car to get from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. As with many other BMWs, the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. The engine is well-engineered and allows for consistent power delivery throughout the rev band. It also offers an impressive engine note, which is truly addictive.See Available BMW Deals
Ride & Handling
With the help of four-wheel steering and four-wheel drive, cornering in the 8 Series is excellent as the former – that has more rear bias – offers great poise to put the power down, while the latter turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front at slower speeds for a tighter turning circle (four-wheel steering turns the wheels the same way at higher speed for greater stability). The result is that the 8 Series can tackle almost any corner at speed and come unruffled out the other side.
With the power on hand, you’ll find yourself devouring twisty roads with ease, as the 8 Series is very satisfying to drive when you put your foot down. It even cruises well, and BMW has given it suspension that is balanced between comfort and performance.
Interior & Equipment
The downside of the 8 Series is that the interior looks exactly the same as it would in any other BMW models, so doesn’t really feel as special as you would like. That being said, the formula for BMW cockpit design does work, as every button and feature is well within reach. BMW has also tilted all the equipment towards the driver.
Big coupes aren’t the most spacious options around, and it’s the same with the 8 Series. The sloping roof and limited rear legroom can mean taller passenger will find travelling in the back uncomfortable – but BMW will be rectifying that issue with the release of the Gran Coupe five-door version at some point in 2019.
The M850i is currently the top spec model and with it you get all the M Sport equipment you might want, such as 20-inch alloy wheels, M Sport brakes and darker detailing both outside and in.
Standard kit includes climate control, cruise control, electric seats, adaptive LED headlights, a wireless charging pad, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment screen and a 10.25-inch instrument display panel in the binnacle. Pair that with leather upholstery and aluminium detailing, and the 8 Series is a nice place to be. Multiple safety assists are also included.
The 8 Series line-up starts from £76,270, which gets you the 840d diesel model. It offers better fuel economy and emissions than the M-fettled option – around 46mpg and 160g/km CO2 – while still getting you from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds. But for the top-spec M850i, you’ll have to part ways with £99,525 which is a fair amount of money.
The car we tested cost £100,045 thanks to a few optional extras, which to be honest weren’t completely necessary but added to the appeal. The 850i is capable of 29mpg and 224g/km CO2, which is what you should expect from a V8 sports coupe.
The 8 Series is a very good car on the whole and shows that BMW can still mix luxury and dynamic driving in its top end models. The V8 power of the M850i is addictive and makes you want to push on – but also is composed enough so that you can settle down into a cruise without any problem. Although rivals may be sportier or more luxurious, the 8 Series strikes an excellent middle ground that means it is a compelling alternative to more established rivals.