New BMW 8-series: Gran Coupe makes debut at Frankfurt

Published: 10 September 2019

► New BMW 8-series info
► First official pictures out now
► All the models in detail, here

If you like the speed, luxury and style of a BMW 8-series, but can't hack the coupe bodystyle, then the new 8-series Gran Coupe could be for you. Unveiled in the metal at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, this slinky customer features the same powertrains and styling as the coupe, but has a little extra space for passengers and luggage as well as two extra doors. It's an 8-series that's a little easier to live with.

From the front the Gran Coupe looks almost identical to its two-doored sibling, but from the side, the differences are more apparent. The windscreen is less raked than the coupe – as is the rear window – and that makes for more headroom in the cabin. There’s a larger boot too, and thanks to some clever engineering, the Gran Coupe doesn’t need a roof fin for the car’s antennae.

2019 BMW 8-series Gran Coupe, rear three quarter, Frankfurt motor show

As you’d expect, the Gran Coupe is bigger overall than the two-door on which it’s based. The four-door’s wheelbase is 201mm longer than the Coupe, while the entire car is a 231mm longer – but it’s wider, too. BMW has pushed out the track of the rear wheels to 1671mm, 28mm wider than before. That now makes it the widest car BMW sells right now.

Despite the extra podge, BMW says the Gran Coupe only carries 70kg of extra weight than the two-door, and the extra changes mean it’s actually stiffer than the Coupe, too. As you’d expect, BMW has thrown the same tech in and our of the Gran Coupe as the standard car, so you’ll get an M Adaptive suspension.

As for straight line speed? M850i takes 3.9 seconds to 60mph, while the 840i gets there in 5.1 seconds and the 840d does the sprint in 5.2.

The Gran Coupe kicks off at £69,340 for the 840i, and soars to £97,720 for the M850i xDrive. That’s around £3000 cheaper than the coupe. It'll be on sale later this year. 

New BMW 8-series: everything else you need to know

The all-new BMW 8-series Coupe slots in the market between focused sports cars, like the Porsche 911, and outright grand tourers, like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. The two-door GT is BMW’s new flagship car and replaces the 6-series. ‘The 8,’ as BMW calls it, will be on sale before the end of November 2018.

If you want something hotter, you’ll be pleased to know there’s an M8 coming too, using the M5’s powertrain and a circa-650bhp V8 – but we’ll have to wait until summer 2019 for that one to roll out.

The swish design story

The new 8-series doesn’t stray too far from the concept that was revealed at the 2017 Villa d’Este concourse. BMW says the new 8-er is one part of a new design language for the brand, which is meant to be cleaner and more contemporary. Shallow headlights, that can be optioned up to use laser light, flank a massive kidney grille. The grille itself uses active aero aids and an ‘almost fully-sealed underbody’ helps keep the 8-series slippery at speed.

BMW 8-Series at the Paris motor show

New BMW 8-series: engines and performance

Two engines will be available from launch: an 840d and a M850i. Both have BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system and an eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox as standard. Check out the full specs for the two engines below:

BMW 840d xDrive

  • Engine: 3.0-litre straight-six turbodiesel
  • Power/torque: 316bhp/502lb ft
  • 0-62mph/top speed: 4.9sec/155mph limited
  • Claimed economy: 46.3mpg

BMW M850i xDrive

  • Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
  • Power/torque: 523bhp/553lb ft
  • 0-62mph/top speed: 3.7sec/155mph limited
  • Claimed economy: 28.3mpg

The xDrive all-wheel drive system just defaults to sending all power to the rears under normal driving conditions to help with efficiency; only when the car detects slip or under heavy load will the fronts light up to add extra grip. BMW’s Integral Active Steering (also known as rear-wheel steering to normal people) is standard, too.

BMW 8-series front tracking

To help keep the big grand tourer as light as possible, aluminium and CFRP (carbonfibre reinforced plastic) is used. The roof, doors, bonnet and front bulkhead are aluminium, while the centre transmission tunnel through the cockpit is made of CFRP. There’s the option to spec more parts in carbonfibre, too.

Read our early drive of the M850i xDrive here

New BMW 8-series: the interior

It’s still familiar BMW inside but with quite a few small detail changes. The 8-series, like the new Z4 and X5, uses the latest version of the brand’s iDrive infotainment and instrument display system and features a high, wide centre console. The dashboard vents are slim, the steering wheel is fat and layout is clean.

BMW 8-series interior

Kit like cruise control, a head-up display, active parking systems and the brand’s Live Cockpit Professional tech is standard. The latter comprises a 12.3-inch instrument display and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen. Microsoft Office is included, as is connectivity with not just your smartphone but Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant smart devices.

There are rear seats, too, though these images don’t quite give away exactly how much room there is back there and there’s a 420-litre boot – good enough for a couple of weekend cases for your trip to the Riviera.

BMW 8-series centre console

What about the Convertible?

BMW is adding a Convertible model to its new 8-series family, to go on sale in March 2019. Prices are TBC at the time of writing but, as is standard practice, it will cost more than the equivalent 8-series Coupe.

It features a fabric folding soft-top, chosen for its weight and refinement advantages over a folding hard-top, and it has been designed with a similarly fast, curving roofline to that of the 8-series Coupe when the top is up. 

For maximum convenience and pose factor, the roof can be dropped remotely from the key fob, for the ultimate in streetside posing power.

Is the Convertible heavier and floppier than the standard BMW 8-series?

The 8-series Convertible is around 125kg heavier than the Coupe, largely owing to the roof mechanism and some additional bracing ahead of the rear wheels to stiffen the roofless bodyshell. Weight distribution has changed slightly as a result, to a 48:52 front:rear split. 

BMW claims the car’s torsional rigidity remains very stiff overall, a company spokesperson commenting that its test drivers have commented the Convertible feels remarkably similar to the Coupe to drive, even on broken surfaces.

Roomy in the back?

Erm, no. There’s actually slightly more headroom in the rear than the coupe, but less shoulder room, owing to the roof mechanism intruding a little into the sides of the rear cabin.

For the same reason, there’s a narrower aperture to feed items through when the rear seats are folded down. Nevertheless, this is a still a car with a deep boot, and potential to carry long items without particular difficulty.

A boot divider must be in place for the roof to go down, but it can be folded upwards out of the way to increase luggage space when the hood is up. 

The arrival of the Convertible means the full BMW 8-series family will look like this:

  • 8-series Coupe (2 doors)
  • 8-series Convertible (2 doors)
  • 8-series Gran Coupe (4 doors)

The upcoming BMW M8, due to arrive in the latter part of 2019, will also be available in all three bodystyles. Read on for the full story on the hard-top BMW 8-series.

New BMW 8-series: price and release date

The all-new 8-series went on sale in June 2018 with the first deliveries arriving in November 2018. Prices start from £76,270 for an 840d xDrive, or £100,045 for a M850i xDrive.

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