- Gorgeous styling
- Strong inline-six
- Four-door practicality
- Unrefined stop/start system
- Cramped rear headroom
The BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe won’t set any sales charts ablaze, but based on our judges’ notes, it might be the most desirable car in the automaker’s lineup. And why wouldn’t it be? Yes, it’s a sedan version of the very attractive BMW 8 Series coupe, but it manages to be just as gorgeous. The coupe‘s most standout styling details—its wide haunches, frameless doors, and long hood—translate well to the Gran Coupe. And the practicality of its rear doors is just icing on the cake.
“The proportions are just stellar,” senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said. “Just how you drew up cars on your Pee-Chee folders in high school when you dreamed of being a designer.”
We opted to take only one 8 Series variant to this year’s competition: the base 840i xDrive Gran Coupe and its turbocharged inline-six. The M850i and M8 round out the lineup (both powered by twin-turbo V-8s), but we decided to go with the one that won’t completely bust your wallet.
“In terms of engineering excellence, the 840i excels,” Lieberman said. “Few six-cylinders are as good as what the Bavarian motor company produces. This has been true historically, and it continues to be true in the present day.”
And despite its big footprint and heft (4,284 pounds), most judges agreed the Gran Coupe was a joy to drive. Testing director Kim Reynolds called it a “sweetheart” around the figure-eight course thanks to its accurate steering and linear power delivery. On the open road, the Gran Coupe drives like the legendary firm, propulsive 7 Series autobahn chargers of yore, but with a modern feel.
A majority of the judges were just as smitten with the interior, which coddles passengers in a reassuringly luxuriant, structured cocoon. The rear of the cabin is relatively spacious, with seats just as comfy as the fronts. The two-tone black and red leather not only looked expensive but also felt soft and supple. Reynolds appreciated the care designers took to integrate the infotainment screen with the dashboard.
“It delivers the feeling of accomplishment every time you get in it,” editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin said. “Everything is an extra layer of supple elegance and enjoyment.” This might be a generational thing, but our younger evaluators dissented, including MotorTrend en Español’s Miguel Cortina, who wished for more special touches (did you not see the crystal glass gear shifter?) and features editor Christian Seabaugh, who got a “chunky and inelegant” vibe from the interior.
On the tech front, there were zero complaints about the iDrive infotainment interface, and most judges had few issues with the driver-assistance features, including the lane centering system.
Nitpicks? The engine’s stop-start system isn’t quite as smooth and stealthy as that of Mercedes models with the brand’s new mild-hybrid inline-six, and taller judges were getting fairly close to the headliner while sitting in the Bimmer’s rear seats. Then there’s the price of entry, which is just slightly under $89,000, making it significantly more expensive than the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7. But as Buyer’s Guide director Zach Gale points out: “In a fashion-forward luxury segment like this one, is that really a bad thing? I’m not so sure.” Buyers of the 8 Series will likely agree.
|POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS||2020 BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Turbocharged I-6, alum block/head|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||182.9 cu in/2,998 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||335 hp @ 5,000 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||368 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||12.8 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||15.5-in vented disc; 15.7-in vented disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||8.0 x 20-in; 9.0 x 20-in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||245/35R20 95Y; 275/30R20 97Y Michelin Pilot Sport 3 ZP|
|TRACK, F/R||64.1/65.8 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||200.2 x 76.1 x 55.2 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||40.4 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,284 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||52/48%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||39.1/37.0 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||42.1/36.6 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||57.2/54.6 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||15.5 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||2.4|
|QUARTER MILE||13.0 sec @ 104.9 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||114 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.92 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.1 sec @ 0.74 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,400 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$100,025|
|AIRBAGS||8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||4 yrs/Unlimited miles|
|FUEL/BATTERY CAPACITY||18.0 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||20/27/23 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||169/125 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.86 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|