Come November 2019, buyers from around the world will be able to purchase the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe – the brand’s flagship 8 Series. After the Coupe and Convertible, we now have the four-door 8 Series Gran Coupe and we just went to Portugal to sample the 2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe with a rear-wheel drive setup.
There is a lot to like about the luxurious new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, starting with its stylish design and continuing with practical cargo and passenger space, and ending with the dynamic drive. Assembled at the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing in Germany, the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is the only car in its segment that is developed from a coupe. Its two major competitors; the Audi A7/S7, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door; are all four-doors from the get-go. While the 8 Series started out life as a sleek, sexy coupe and translated those looks into a four-door body.
Don’t just think that it’s an 8 Series Coupe with some rear doors carved out, though. It has grown in length (231 mm), wheelbase (201 mm), width (30 mm) and height (61 mm). That last bit might worry some enthusiasts who love the low, sexy looks of the Coupe but the increase in height is just to give the rear passengers a bit of headroom. The front track width of 1,627 mm is the same as the two-door car’s, while the rear track of 1,671 millimeters is 28 millimeters wider, making it the widest of any model in the BMW line-up.
From the front, the 2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe isn’t identical to the Coupe. To accommodate the taller roofline at the back, the windscreen had to be made more upright. So the A-pillar is changed from its Coupe sibling, offering more headroom in the front as well. To give passengers an even greater sense of headroom, an optional panoramic glass roof provides a combined 1.5 meters of glass above passengers’ heads. It’s one piece of unbroken glass from the sunroof back to the rear window.
So it’s a bit more upright and a bit taller than its Coupe sibling, which makes it a bit more practical and comfortable inside. But without sacrificing its look because the 8 Series Gran Coupe is stunning. We would even go as far as saying that the 8 Series Gran Coupe is BMW’s best looking car. It builds off of the Coupe’s already beautiful looks but adds a sexier roofline, more muscular hips and an integrated rear ducktail spoiler that all combine to make an already pretty car even prettier.
Inside, you will immediately notice that the Gran Coupe is meant to be a 4+1, but the center occupant in the rear will have to sit with legs apart to accommodate an extended center console. Legroom is more than enough, even for someone 1.9 meters tall, with decent headroom as well.
Sitting up front is marvelous, though. There is a lot of space for the driver and passenger, who are wrapped in extremely comfortable and sporty seats. Essentially, it’s the same front cabin from the 8 Series Coupe and Convertible, so you’re getting the new dashboard design with intuitive controls. Of course, the car was fitted with the upscale glass gear shifter and the iDrive knob covered in the same crystals.
The leather is of the highest quality possible in a BMW with double stitching all around. The 840i and 840i xDrive Gran Coupes feature standard Vernasca leather in either Black, Ivory White or Cognac. Optional on these two models and standard on the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe is Individual Extended Merino Leather in Black Ivory White, Cognac and two-tone Night Blue/Black, Tartufo/Black and Fiona Red/Black. BMW Individual Full Merino leather is optional on all three Gran Coupe models and includes Black, Cognac, Ivory White, Ivory White/Night Blue, Ivory White/Tartufo, Night Blue/Black, Tartufo/Black and Fiona Red/Black.
The 8 Series Coupe’s plethora of onboard tech carries over, too, starting with the 12.3 black panel display behind the steering wheel, and the 10.3 LCD on top of the dashboard. iDrive 7 is fitted to the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe which brings the latest and greatest BMW has to offer in infotainment systems. You can use the iDrive knob on the center console to move through the tiled menus, or you can simply use the Gesture Control feature or the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant to perform the same functions.
A Wi-Fi hotspot is built in and, of course, Apple CarPlay is available.
When it comes to driver assistance features, the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe gets the adaptive cruise control with steering assist, lane-keeping assist, parking assist, blind-spot assist and the latest Level 2 autonomous driving features.
The 2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe we drove is sending the power only to the rear wheels. Under the hood, it has the brand’s ubiquitous, but excellent, B58 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six engine, making 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. According to BMW, 0-60 mph happens in 5.2 seconds for the rear-drive car. All engines will obviously come with eight-speed automatic transmissions only.
The Driving Experience
All the BMW 8 Series we drove this year were fitted with the excellent, but heavier xDrive all-wheel drive system. The BMW 840i is the only model to feature the sDrive configuration, which means, all power is going to the rear wheels. That saves 90 kg, and sharpens up the 2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe.
At highway speeds, with its adaptive cruise control system on, the 840i Gran Coupe works as it was intended to – a comfortable cruiser for the long journeys. The car’s refinement is impressive, wind noise is minimal and it’s easy to go over the speed limit with the smooth B58 engine. The car simply glides on the near perfect Portuguese highways, especially when you run in the Comfort mode setting. As you’d expect, the default mode softens up the car considerably, and that’s okay, because most of the 8 Series Gran Coupe owners are looking for that calm ride.
No doubt its adaptive suspension and front control-arm and rear multilink suspension setup helps smoothen things, but you can also choose Sport or Sport+ for more inspiring driving.
And that’s exactly what we did once we turned onto the backroads surrounding Portimao. In Sport+, the 2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe is sharper in response and more eager to please. And after a few carefully approached turns, we decided to push the car a bit. The 1,933 kg (4,262 pounds) curb weight is nicely hidden by the fantastic 3.0 liter six-cylinder engine, arguably, the best BMW engine today. The four-door coupe pulls hard in corners, while the rear wheels slip just enough to put a smile on your face.
Not only is power from the six-cylinder plentiful, but it is extremely linear and smooth. It’s fair to say that BMW has perfected the formula of a six-cylinder and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The latest generation ZF gearbox is as superb as it can be with incredible quick shifts matching the right rpm at all time. It’s also fast and smooth in both auto and manual modes. Brake energy recovery is featured in the Eco Pro mode.
Though not nearly as burly as the 4.4 liter V8, the B58 engine is certainly one of the better-sounding six-cylinders, even with the OPF installed on the European models. The US-version should sound even better.
Without a doubt one of the best options you can add to the large and long 8 Series Gran Coupe is the Integral Active Steering. The extra option provides steering to the rear wheels making the four-door coupe feel much smaller than it should. Thanks to the adaptive M dampers, the body roll is kept in check, but it’s fair to say that there is a small amount of roll in tight corners. As a caveat, the Adaptive M Suspension Professional package in only offered on the M850i in the United States.
Speaking of tight corners, the standard M Sport differential with active locking function for the rear wheels can be felt when pushing the car hard, and it allows for some safe play.
The steering is no surprise either and it’s similar to many new BMW products. It’s heavy and precise enough in Sport and Sport+, and more comfortable to steer in Comfort mode – pun intended. It’s probably where it will see the most use, so it makes sense that BMW thinks about the car’s demographic.
The 2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe also came with the M Performance brakes which allowed us to brake later in corners and be more aggressive with the steering. The car also came with the optional 20-inch wheels (18s are standard and optional 19s are also available) for more contact-patch with the road.
If you’re in between the 8 Series Coupe and the Gran Coupe, then it will all come down to practicality and space needed. If you travel with 3 or more people, then the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is the obvious choice. If you’re constantly craving for more cargo space, then the Gran Coupe is again the top choice. Furthermore, if your choice lies between the 5 Series Sedan and the 8 Series Gran Coupe, then clearly the higher priced 8 Series brings a new level of luxury and would make for the top choice.
Up against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7 Sportback, the 2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe will have to battle for its spot in the segment. Yet, with its confidence, it’s easy to see why it will end up in many customers’ garages around the world.
Overall, the new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is a very compelling package with great driving dynamics, luxury and practicality wrapped up in a single product. We just can’t stop wondering what an 8 Series Gran Coupe electric could do for the brand…