New BMW 8-series: add illuminated kidney grille, subtract diesel engine

Published: 27 January 2022

► BMW’s big GT gets a facelift
► All models now get Merino leather
► M8 Competition boasts 616hp

Well, the good news is that the facelifted BMW 8-series hasn’t benefited from a massively enlarged kidney grille. The slightly less certain news is that said grille does now come with ‘Iconic Glow’ illumination as standard.

And there’s a dead-on image showing this in the press kit that makes the new 8-series look remarkably like metal-toothed Bond-nemesis, Jaws. But we digress.

BMW 8-series Convertible, silver, dead-on front view, Iconic Glow grille

More significantly, as well as other tweaks to the front-end styling, the latest versions of BMW’s big GT car have ditched diesel power entirely for the UK market. This leaves buyers with a choice of two petrol engines in the regular range, plus the fire-breathing M8 continuing in Competition form at the top of the pile.

Coupe, Gran Coupe and Convertible updates have all been revealed at the same time.

So what’s actually new for the 2022 BMW 8-series?

Is that grille not enough? Fine. Well, all standard UK cars come with an M sports package, so the changes to the front end are further muddied by larger intakes and sharper angles, additionally enhanced by bits of bodykit to the side and rear.

Those intakes are now ‘structured’ by horizontal struts, the rear diffuser is finished in Dark Shadow metallic, while the Coupe and Gran Coupe versions now come with sun protection glass. The 20-inch M light alloy wheels come with staggered tyres, too.

BMW 8-series Coupe, Gran Coupe and Convertible

Other standard features included adaptive LED headlights (upgradeable to BMW Laserlights, of course), interior ambient lighting and – new for the facelift – multi-function seats with BMW Individual Merino leather upholstery on all versions. There are Bicolour variations of this, which are described as ‘stylish’. More of the interior controls now have a galvanised finish.

The punchier M850i models distinguish themselves from the entry-level 840i with M aerodynamic mirrors, M-badge in the bespoke front grille and M Performance pack with 19-inch M sport brakes, high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim, M seat belts, M steering wheel tricolour stitching and a high-gloss back rear spoiler for the Coupe.

BMW 8-series Coupe interior

You can also option a classic BMW motorsport badge on the M850i. Marking 50 years of BMW M, this can be applied to the bonnet, tailgate and wheel hubs, and pays homage to the BMW M GmbH logo that was used on racing cars in – er – 1973.

Finally, there are four new paint finishes: Skyscraper Grey, San Remo Green, M Portimao Blue and Individual Frozen Tanzanite Blue.

How fast is it?

The rear-wheel-drive 840i is a 328hp straight-six with 369lb ft. It will go 0-62mph in 5.2-5.5sec (Coupe being the fastest, Convertible the slowest).

The M850i is xDrive all-wheel-drive only, and powered by a 523bhp V8 with 551lb ft – the earth very probably will move for you. Here 0-62mph takes 3.9-4.1sec.

BMW 8-series Grand Coupe, dark blue, rear view, driving

All versions are limited to your usual 155mph BMW top speed.

The 840d xDrive is no more, BMW citing ‘changing customer demand’ in the UK.

What about the new M8 Competition?

This also arrives in all three bodystyles, packing a 616hp version of the M TwinPower Turbo 4.4-litre V8. Another 551lb ft xDrive smasher, this does 0-62mph in 3.2-3.3sec.

BMW M8 Competition Convertible and Gran Coupe

Here you get a choice of eight new colours on the outside, with Merino leather on the inside whether you go for the standard seats or the optional M Carbon buckets.

Chassis tech includes electronically controlled dampers and electro-mechanical steering, plus an available upgrade to carbon ceramic brakes. More interestingly, you can also choose between two brake pedal-feel settings, to suit your driving style.

Chassis tuning – which varies between bodystyles – is said to be influenced by the BMW M8 GTE racing car. Right.

Any tech upgrades for the new 8er?

All versions of the 2022 8-series come with the BMW Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system, and a central display that’s been increased from 10.25 to 12.3 inches across. There’s also a head-up display and an uprated Harmon/Kardon sound system.

BMW 8-series Convertible interior

All BMW’s latest assisted driving systems are on offer – but you will still have to pay extra for some of them.

How much does it all cost?

Prices for the new BMW 8-series start at £72,225 for the 830i Gran Coupe; it’s an extra £2,500 for Coupe, while the Convertible costs £81,725.

The M850i is priced from £101,215, while the M8 Competition is £123,300 and beyond – all with similar walk-ups between versions.

By CJ Hubbard

Head of the Bauer Automotive Hub, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

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