This is the BMW 8-Series Gran Coupe and we think it’s rather gorgeous.
Only the front-end sheet metal is shared with the 8-Series coupe and convertible, though the headlights have been raised slightly so they’re not quite identical. From the base of the windscreen back, the Gran Coupe is completely different.
An extra 201mm has been let into the wheelbase, stretching the 8GC out to a vast length of 5,082mm – 281mm longer than the coupe and convertible. It’s also 30mm wider and 61mm taller than its siblings. But it has similar proportions and detailing so the relationship between the three is clear whichever angle you’re looking at the GC from.
The longer wheelbase is clear from inside as pretty much all of it goes to the rear seat passengers. Going by the pictures, it looks positively palatial back there, with a pair of chairs either side of a big centre console with dedicated climate controls for the rear.
Unusually in this type of car, the back seats fold down giving a usefully long load bay. With such a plush interior, though, we’re not sure we’d want to load it up with Ikea flatpacks and garden rubbish.
A multi-material structure comprising aluminium, magnesium and carbonfibre-reinforced plastic helps keep the weight increase down to 70kg over the equivalent coupe. But it’s still not exactly a lightweight at around two tons.
BMW is keen to point that the 8GC is the only car in its class based on a sports car chassis. Its main rivals, the Mercedes CLS/AMG GT 4-Door and Porsche Panamera are all based on saloon car platforms. Both the AMG and Panamera are almost preternaturally agile for such huge machines – we’ll have to wait and see if the 8GC can match them.
There’s a pair petrol engines and a single diesel to choose from – the 340hp 840i, 530hp M850i xDrive and 320hp 840d xDrive. An M8 version is likely to follow soon.
840i and 840d get from 0-62mph in a smidge over five seconds, while the M850i reaches the marker in 3.9secs. All are limited to 155mph. All are reasonably economical, too, even the M850i returning high-20s.
As you’d expect, BMW has thrown every gadget it has at the 8GC. Pretty much everything comes as standard on the M850i, but even the lowlier models comes extremely generously equipped.
Highlights include adaptive suspension, rear-wheel-steering, active roll stabilisation, top-of-the-range infotainment with 10.25in central screen, 12.3in digital instrument panel, ‘display key’, head-up display, four-zone climate control and many driver assistance aids.
Options include a panoramic roof, 1,400w Bowers & Wilkins stereo and Laserlight adapative headlights. We could go on, but the full kit list would run to several thousand words.
Prices start at £69,340 for the 640i. It’s on sale now for deliveries from September.
By Graham King