BMW 8 Series (2018-present)

BMW revives an old name for an all-new luxury grand tourer that is assured and highly accomplished

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Comfortable interior
Assured handling
Choice of powerful engines

Weaknesses 

Not as sporty as it thinks it is
iDrive infotainment system is overly complex
Expensive

Sporty cars aren’t necessarily sports cars, so a grand tourer such as the new BMW 8 Series Coupé enables buyers to drive something sleek-looking but without all the impracticalities of a two-seat roadster.

The 8 Series Coupé is a relatively rare beast – a luxury 2+2 GT – so there’s not a huge amount of competition for BMW in the market: the Mercedes S-Class Coupé stands out as its closest rival, with the likes of the Bentley Continental GT also available for buyers who have another £20K-30K. The 8 Series will also go on sale in Convertible and four-door Gran Coupé forms in 2019 (the will also be high-performance M8 versions of each), both of which have more direct competitors, but for now the Coupé has a fairly clear run at potential buyers looking for something quick that can also be used for long, cross-continental trips.

BMW’s designers have certainly been hard at work trying to make the 8 Series Coupé as appealing as possible. With its long bonnet and swooping roof, it is definitely aiming to look sporty, but in the metal it doesn’t quite convince. The roof looks as if it can’t wait to leave the front of the car and the surfaces, with numerous feature lines and creases, also look a bit fussy, with too much going on.

The sharply sloping roof also has an effect on the interior. This is a 2+2 grand tourer, which means that it’s a two-seater but with two additional seats in the rear for occasional use. However, the roof is so low, and the legroom so restricted, that the seats are really only suitable for very small children – or, better still, as additional storage space (they also fold down to extend the 420-litre boot, making it suitable for skis, golf bags or longer items).

The interior itself is very comfortable, with leather-swathed sports seats and high-quality materials throughout. All the infotainment functions are based around BMW’s long-established iDrive system, which is has been evolving over 17 years and, while it’s more advanced than ever, it’s still relatively complicated, with menus and submenus galore. This iteration has the ConnectedDrive feature, which offers owners a range of online services and integrates Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business, as well as Apple CarPlay, but only via an enhanced Bluetooth, which we found to be a little unreliable (although this could be because the cars we tested were pre-production – hopefully the issues will be resolved by the time customer cars are delivered).

As it's a BMW, the 8 Series Coupé is engaging to drive, with accurate steering (there’s additional steering help from the rear wheels), different driving modes that adapt to the road and driver’s preferences, and the kind of handling we’ve come to expect from the German carmaker. The car feels pretty agile for its size, well balanced and stable, while the ride is well suited to a GT.

There are only two engine options (one petrol and one diesel) but both offer plenty of performance – although running costs will vary wildly. The flagship 850i xDrive (both versions have BMW’s four-wheel-drive system that switches traction between the front and rear wheels, depending on road conditions) is quick for a big car, with the benchmark 0-62mph sprint possible in just 3.7 seconds, which is on a par with V12 versions of the Bentley Continental GT and quicker than the Mercedes-Benz AMG S 63 Coupé, while it’s almost half a second faster than the BMW M4 and most variants of the Porsche 911. The diesel 840d also returns a sub-five-second time for 0-62mph, so there’re no shortage of performance there, either.

The 8 Series Coupé is far from cheap, but if you’re in the market for a luxury grand tourer, this really won’t be a surprise. This is a car for buyers like the good things in life – and can afford them – but there are still numerous optional extras over and above the base price, which will soon mount up.

There’s lot to commend this car as an ownership proposition, but while it's more practical than an out-and-out sports car, four-door models such as the Audi RS7, Mercedes-AMG CLS 53, Aston Martin Rapide and the 8 Series Gran Coupé that will follow next year are an even better option.

Last Updated 

Friday, October 26, 2018 - 11:15

Key facts 

Warranty: 
Three years/Unlimited mileage
Boot size: 
420 litres
Width: 
1,902mm
Length: 
4,851mm
Height: 
1,346mm
Tax: 
£830-1,760 in first year and £140 thereafter

Best BMW 8 Series for... 

BMW 840d xDrive
The only diesel version of the 8 Series Coupé, the 840d is relatively economical to run, with its 46.3mpg fuel consumption and 160g/km CO2 emissions.
BMW 850i xDrive
Powered by a 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine, the 850i offers plenty of performance, with a 3.7-second 0-62mph time and 530PS on tap.

BMW 8 Series History 

May 2017: Concept 8 Series previews all-new 8 Series Coupé at the Concorso d’Eleganza event in Italy.
June 2018: First images of the car released by BMW, followed by an appearance at Goodwood Festival of Speed.
October 2018: 8 Series Coupé shown to the public at Paris Motor Show.

Understanding BMW 8 Series car names 

  • 8 Series
  • Engine
    850i
  • Drive
    xDrive
  • Engine
    There are just two engines at the launch of the 8 Series Coupé, the 840d diesel and 850i petrol. Both have an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 840d has an output of 320hp, while the 850i produces 530hp.
  • Drive
    Both versions come with xDrive four-wheel drive, which switches power between the front and rear wheels, depending on the available traction.

BMW 8 Series Engines 

840d, 850i

BMW is initially keeping the engine range simple for the 8 Series Coupé (the company has refused to rule out the addition of options such as a plug-in hybrid, plus it has confirmed a more powerful M8 Coupé at a later date).

The single diesel option is an 840d, which is twin-turbocharged, straight-six cylinder 3.0-litre engine, which produces 320hp. This results in a 4.9-second 0-62mph time, while official fuel economy is 46.3mpg and CO2 emissions are 160g/km. We haven’t yet tested this powertrain, but it's already in service in other BMW models, including the X5 and 7 Series, where it works well, delivering plenty of power in a refined manner.

We have, however, tested the more powerful 850i petrol engine. This is an all-new 4.4-litre V8 unit that will also be used across other BMW performance models. It pumps out 530PS, which means that 0-62mph is possible in just 3.7 seconds, which is a good indication of just how pacey this car is. There’s bundles of power on tap and the eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission (the same in ‘box found in the 840d) offers quick and smooth shifts. Of course, there’s a price to pay for all that performance, with a theoretical fuel consumption of 28.8mpg (which will be considerably lower for most drivers, tempted by that snarling V8) and emissions of 224g/km that will mean a high first-year VED bill.

 

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

850i

petrol

28.8mpg

530hp

3.7s

155mph

840d

diesel

46.3mpg

320hp

4.9s

155mph

BMW 8 Series Trims 

840d, M850i

There are just two different versions of the 8 Series Coupé, with slightly different specifications.

The 840d has standard features that include LED headlights and rear lights, adaptive suspension, active steering, 20-inch alloy wheels, BMW’s display key, head-up display, high-beam assist, parking assistant automatic parking, rear-view camera, ambient interior lighting, automatic tailgate, enhanced Bluetooth and wireless phone charging.

The M850i largely has the same specification, but with different 20-inch alloys and the addition of an M Sport differential, an M Technology package and sport exhaust.

Despite the high base price (especially in the case of the 850i), there are still numerous options, including a reversing assistant that steers the vehicle when reversing up to 50 metres on the same course as the most recent parking manoeuvre, brighter Laserlight LED headlights, upgraded Bowers & Wilkins audio system, a Premium package (soft-close doors, seat ventilation, a heat comfort package), carbon roof and carbon exterior package. All of these will bump up the price.

BMW 8 Series Reliability and warranty 

At time of writing, the 8 Series Coupé is too new to have registered on any of the reliability surveys, such as the Auto Express Driver Power consumer survey, and its limited sales volumes mean that it is unlikely to show up in many once it has been on sale a little longer.

A positive sign is that a couple of BMW models do show well in the latest Driver Power survey, with the 5 Series and 3 Series in the top half of the table. That does not transfer to overall satisfaction with the brand overall, however, as BMW is only 21st in the list of most reliable manufacturers.

The BMW warranty is relatively standard for the industry, in that it lasts three years from new, but it does cover unlimited miles.

Used BMW 8 Series 

The 8 Series is yet to go on sale, so used example won’t start filtering on to the market for some time.

However, their relative rarity – BMW is looking at selling 1,400 or so a year – should mean that second-hand values hold up relatively well, although the high running costs of the 850i might go some way to counteracting the desirability of ownership. The 840d is likely to be a more popular option, with more examples available as a result, thanks to its more economical nature.