What Is It?
2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe First Look
Because Why Not?
Like the 4 Series Gran Coupe (and now-defunct 6 Series Gran Coupe), the new 2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is the sedan version of the BMW 8 Series (an actual coupe). It grows significantly from its two-door sibling, adding 7.9 inches to the wheelbase and 9 inches in overall length. It's also wider and taller than the two-door, with a less aggressive rake to the front and rear windscreens to improve both headroom and visibility and create a larger and more usable trunk opening.
Rear passengers in particular should be pleased with these changes. The rear-seat room in the 8 Series lies somewhere between "cramped" and "nonexistent," but the Gran Coupe adds 3.4 inches of headroom, 7.1 inches of legroom, and 7.7 inches of shoulder room. Rear passengers also get their own air vents, climate controls and USB-C charge ports. BMW says there's room for five, but based on what we've seen this is really a four-person vehicle.
Two engines will be available at launch. The 840i and 840i xDrive Gran Coupe will be powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, making 335 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. It'll push the Gran Coupe toward a claimed 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds. The inline-six is BMW's bread-and-butter engine, offering performance that we've never had a reason to complain about in any other Bimmer.
The terrific turbocharged V8 found in the M850i will also make an appearance in the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe, where it produces the same 523 horsepower and, BMW says, nets the sedan a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds. That's an impressive time, especially considering that in our track testing, the two-door M850i managed the 0-60 mph run just a tenth quicker.
The 8 Series Gran Coupe won't skimp on luxury or tech either. All of BMW's latest tech will be available, from driver aids and safety systems to BMW's version of a voice assistant, gesture control, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and a head-up display, all available on top of a pretty extensive list of standard features.
Why Does It Matter?
Let's be honest. The 8 Series Gran Coupe is a niche car. Its top competitors only move a few thousand units a year, so it's not a segment with a lot of shoppers. The technology features on offer are available in other Bimmers already — the new 3 Series sedan has a lot of the same tech options — so it's not really showing the future of BMW either.
Really, the 8 Series Gran Coupe is a flex. It's a big dose of style and performance built for a small group of potential buyers just because BMW can.
What Does It Compete With?
As you might expect, there aren't a lot of direct competitors for a large, performance-oriented sedan. The two biggies are the Porsche Panamera and the Mercedes-Benz CLS. The CLS offers an excellent interior and its own superlative turbocharged inline-six, but no V8 option. The Panamera offers mind-bending performance, along with an optional V8 or a 671-horsepower hybrid.
The choice among the three is likely not going to come down to price or content; if you're shopping in this segment, it's all about the emotional appeal. The big question is whether the 8 Series Gran Coupe will be able to grab buyers by the heart.
BMW's ridiculous naming conventions aside, the 2020 8 Series Gran Coupe is a cool car: a big luxury performance sedan with room for five in a sleek body. If you're one of the few fortunate and savvy enough to shop in this very narrow segment, you've got one more exciting option.