Vehicle Reviews

BMW 8 Series Coupe - Review Of The Week

What should a top luxury sports coupe be? Sharp and driver-orientated like a Porsche 911? Or a luxurious Grand Tourer like the Mercedes S-Class Coupe? If you can't decide, this BMW 8 Series Coupe might offer the perfect solution.

To begin with, two 8 Series Coupe engines are on offer, both with xDrive 4WD as standard. The enthusiasts' initial choice will be the M850i variant, which uses much the same 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 you'll find in the brand's M5 super saloon but here tuned to 530hp. An M Sport exhaust delivers a snarly soundtrack and there are the usual 'Driving Experience Control' modes - 'Eco', 'Comfort', 'Sport' and 'Sport+'. There's 750Nm of torque and 62mph from rest takes just 3.7s. If that's not fast enough, you'll want to talk to your dealer about the even quicker M8 model that BMW has planned.

The alternative option is the 840d xDrive diesel variant, which uses the brand's familiar 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line diesel with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. It delivers a maximum output of 320hp and peak torque of 680Nm.

For a more focussed and sporty handling, Integral Active Steering is fitted as standard to reduce the turning circle when manoeuvring. This also increases agility at moderate speeds and optimises poise and assurance when changing lanes and cornering at high speeds. It becomes more direct as the speed builds but allows the driver to manoeuvre at low speeds with minimal steering wheel movement. Optional active roll stabilisation further enhances the handling characteristics. Electric swivel motors on the front and rear axles ensure particularly fast and precise compensation of lateral forces.

BMW 8 Series Coupe - Review Of The Week

The low-slung 8 Series Coupe design has an elongated silhouette with a slim window graphic and a roofline flowing elegantly into the powerfully shaped rear with distinctive 'double-bubble' contours. LED headlights are standard - the slimmest lamps of any BMW model to date. Both light tubes are used to generate the daytime driving lights as well as the low and high beam, thereby creating a signature brand look at all times. The side view is dominated by dramatic surfaces. Whilst they curve inwards on the far side of the front wheels, they bulge outwards again in a real display of power above the rear wheels. The glass area tapers at the rear, accentuating the muscular shoulder line, while the side window graphic terminates in a very tightly-angled version of the famous Hofmeister kink.

The interior is awash with high-precision details and features a driver-centric cockpit and low-set sports seats featuring integral head restraints and trimmed in soft Merino leather. There's space for a couple of small children in the rear and the backrest sections can be folded down either individually or together in order to further increase the load capacity of the 420-litre luggage compartment.

We can see this 8 Series model carving out a useful niche for itself. M5-style drive dynamics and 7 Series saloon luxury is a combination likely to appeal to quite a few boardroom-level buyers.

Of course, you'll never get the trackday-style feel of a 911, but potential buyers are unlikely to want that. And the greater practicality, technology and safety of this '8' will for them be ample compensation. Plus it makes a particularly striking aesthetic statement. Which you'll want if this car is to properly reward you for a lifetime's endeavour. It should elegantly be able to do just that.

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