8 WORTH THE WAIT (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
BMW looks strong in the large luxury coupe market with this sleekly-styled 8 Series model. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 39
What should a top luxury sports coupe be? Sharp and driver-orientated like a Porsche 911? Or a luxurious Grand Tourer like the Mercedes S-Class Coupe? If you can't decide, this BMW 8 Series Coupe might offer the perfect solution.
Backgroundword count: 140
This car revives an 8 Series nameplate last seen between 1989 and 1999, but sidelined since as BMW has experimented with other approaches into the luxury coupe market. One was the electrified i8, the other the four-door 6 Series Gran Coupe. The Munich maker insists that this 8 Series isn't a Gran Coupe replacement, nor is it merely a stylised two-door version of the 7 Series saloon, even though it's built alongside that car at the company's Dingolfing German plant. The manufacturer points out that '8' has always been a model badge given to its special projects. The i8 was one; the Z8 sports roadster of 2000 was another. With this 8 Series Coupe, development was conducted in parallel with the M8 GTE endurance racing car, which suggests a dynamic focus never previously seen in a top BMW coupe model.
Driving Experienceword count: 244
The range kicks off with the 340hp rear-driven 840i sDrive version but most 8 Series Coupe buyers choose between the two mainstream xDrive variants, both of which feature xDrive 4WD as standard. The enthusiasts' choice will be the M850i variant, which uses much the same 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 you'll find in the brand's M5 super saloon but here tuned to 530hp. An M Sport exhaust delivers a snarly soundtrack and there are the usual 'Driving Experience Control' modes - 'Eco', 'Comfort', 'Sport' and 'Sport+'. There's 750Nm of torque and 62mph from rest takes just 3.7s. If that's not fast enough, you'll want to talk to your dealer about the even quicker M8 Competition model which puts out 625hp. The alternative option is the 840d xDrive diesel variant, which uses the brand's familiar 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line diesel with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. It delivers a maximum output of 320hp and peak torque of 680Nm. For a more focussed and sporty handling, Integral Active Steering is fitted as standard to reduce the turning circle when manoeuvring. This also increases agility at moderate speeds and optimises poise and assurance when changing lanes and cornering at high speeds. It becomes more direct as the speed builds but allows the driver to manoeuvre at low speeds with minimal steering wheel movement. Optional active roll stabilisation further enhances the handling characteristics. Electric swivel motors on the front and rear axles ensure particularly fast and precise compensation of lateral forces.
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