Motoring correspondent Mark Gallivan gives the new BMW 840i Series Gran Coupe a test drive and is suitably impressed.

Where before there roamed a 6 now is an 8 Series in coupe or saloon. Yet before we dive into the what and whatnot’s of the €120,355 BMW 840i Gran Coupe allow a moment of low-whistle admiration.

It would be the perennially hardened soul that remains unseduced by the 8 Series Gran Coupe’s looks. Like an elongated and even more striking 8 Series Coupe, a car we wholeheartedly approve of if you’re wavering, the 8 Series Gran Coupe arrives 61mm taller and 30mm wider than the two-door coupe.

“The Gran Coupe’s biggest achievement is the balance between being a snappy performance GT and a wafting daily cruiser depending on which adaptive damper setting chosen”

It bellies up to the table to vie for the crown of the most flamboyantly designed four-door car made by BMW and rivals Mercedes and Audi. Key design features include the slimmest front lights in the BMW range and a single-piece kidney grille. In the metal it looks even better – simply fabulous. That is high praise when the slinky Mercedes AMG GT Four Door and Audi’s steroidal RS6 Saloon are grumbling out of earshot.

Park the BMW next to a 2020 Porsche Panamera, probably a truer rival and still flabby looking despite the redesign, it’s the BMW that bags the four-door coupe’s sheet metal prize in 2020.

It had better do. The 840i Gran Coupe’s is priced at €120,355 and chimes in at around €2,000 more than the diesel 850d xDrive. This test car was the only rear-drive version in the Gran Coupe range. The other cars in the Gran Coupe range use BMW’s xDrive four-wheel-drive system. You can go all-in right up to a M8 Competition Gran Coupe and pay €206,135. Of the three reports suggest the 840i petrol tested is the best choice.

Talking the torque

Silver BMW 8-series gran coupe.

Things you’ll want to do first? You will be itching to peer under the bonnet to see where the muted rumble is coming from. It’s a wondrous unit. Smooth and melodious, it hurls the rev counter’s needle into a clockwise arc at the merest prod of the accelerator. BMW makes some of the best six cylinder engines in the business and here, in this 3.0 litre straight six unit with 340 bhp with 500 Nm torque, it is treacle smooth with an eight-speed gearbox that’s consistently a treat.

The giddy excitement I felt when I previously tested the 8 Series Coupe floods back. BMW consistently delivers great driving cars no matter which model I test.

For now, the 8 Series in Coupe or Gran Coupe is now one of its very best. CO2 emissions range between 170-168 g/km (€570 road tax) and fuel economy hovering at 7.5 1/100km or 38mph. On average I saw around 30mpg on the test. My worst recorded figure fell to 21mpg. Regardless, 0-100km (60 mph) is seen off in 5.2 seconds.

In the belly of the beast

You sit low in the Gran Coupe with a high centre console that runs from the dashboard to the rear seat squab. This cabin design is closer to Porsche’s Panamera than main rivals which offer five seats.

In the BMW the central rear console contains climate and rear sunroof controls (test car came with a double sunroof) but this restricts the possibility for three-a-breast seating. With a low rear roofline the Gran Coupe realistically has seating for just four people. The cabin is trimmed in top quality leather with solid feeling buttons and switches that raises it above the 3 or 5 Series’ cabin workmanship. Boot dimensions are 440 litres.

BMW makes great infotainment systems and toggling through the interface it was easy to learn and find the right menus and functions. To drive, the 8 Series Gran Coupe lacks the ultimate sharpness of a Panamera but more fun than an Audi A7 or Mercedes CLS – both less expensive four-door-coupes. The 840i Gran Coupe should be hampered by the lack of XDrive four-wheel-drive, but somehow BMW successfully masks this potential traction deficit.

The Gran Coupe’s biggest achievement is the balance between being a snappy performance GT and a wafting daily cruiser depending on which adaptive damper setting chosen. Some have claimed the sister 8 Series Coupe is legitimately a more attainable Bentley Continental GT, which on a first inspection sounds daft.

But the more you immerse yourself in the BMW Coupe and Gran Coupe they both serve up the similar ultra-affluent vibe. The immersed feeling of exclusive luxury was an extraction from the gloom of 2020 on this test. If you are considering an 8 Series in two or four doors, this is BMW at its very best.

You’ll like: Gorgeous looks, cabin, petrol engine’s cannonade of linear power, great driving position and superior GT dynamics. Sensational all-rounder.

You’ll grumble: Price.

By Mark Gallivan

Published: 8 December 2020

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