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In-depth reviews

BMW 8 Series review

Muscle car performance and proportions give BMW’s 8 Series old-school appeal, but it’s packed with the latest technology

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£84,095 to £134,955
  • Strong engines
  • Impressive tech
  • Very luxurious
  • Some rivals feel sharper
  • Fidgety low-speed ride
  • Tiny rear seats
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The range-topper within BMW’s sports car lineup, the 8 Series aims to mix luxury grand touring with an engaging driving experience. The design is more traditional than some of BMW’s more recent unveilings but still has plenty of presence on the road thanks to its sheer size. The cabin’s fit and finish, along with the technology on board means the 8 Series impresses inside and out.

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There’s 4x4 drive from the devastatingly quick V8 M850i or M8 Competition models, while a big boot makes the coupe a genuinely practical grand tourer, if you accept that the confined rear seats are only for occasional use. Otherwise the four-door Gran Coupe variant effectively addresses any accommodation problems.

About the BMW 8 Series

Almost 20 years after the first 8 Series went off sale (the wedge-shaped one with the pop-up headlights), the second generation model launched in 2018. Although the original was coupe-only, to replace the 6 Series’ range of bodystyles the current BMW 8 Series is offered as a two-door Coupe, a four-door Gran Coupe version with an extended wheelbase and a Convertible that sits at the top of the range. BMW introduced a light facelift for the range in early 2022 incorporating subtle styling tweaks, along with extra onboard technology and equipment (pictures in this review are pre-facelift model).

Don’t let the name fool you, in terms of powertrain the 8 Series shares nothing with the now defunct i8 hybrid when it went on sale. Those looking for frugality should check out the 316bhp 3.0-litre diesel 840d xDrive - although you’ll have to look at used models as it’s no longer on sale. This leaves a petrol-only lineup: the 328bhp 840i, the 523bhp M850i xDrive, with a 4.4-litre twin-turbo and the M Competition - which uses the same V8 engine tuned to 616bhp.

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Once you’ve chosen a body style and engine, BMW makes life relatively simple because there are no trim grade options beyond those imposed by your engine choice. The entry-level 840i only comes in M Sport guise, while you’ll find the M850i under “M Models” if you delve into the configurator.

Naturally equipment levels are lavish even on M Sport cars, but BMW will try to upsell you into a range of expensive add-on packages. These include the £1,500 Visibility Pack for laser headlamp upgrades, the M Sport Pro pack for 20-inch alloy wheels and dark chrome exterior finishes, the £3,000 Comfort Plus Pack for features including heated armrests, ventilated seats and electric window blinds, and the £6,000 Technology Plus Pack which includes a 1,400 Watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system, a full package of active driver assistance features, on-board video recording and Parking Assistant Plus. The £19,000 Ultimate Pack includes all of the above, plus additional features such as a TV receiver.

While the BMW 8 Series offers a distinct blend of comfort and sportiness that sets it apart, it enters a market that’s not short of rivals when it comes to expensive GT models. With list prices starting from around £77,000 for the cheapest Gran Coupe four-door to almost £143,000 for the M8 Competition convertible, the roster of potential competitors includes the sportiest of rivals such as the Porsche 911, along with more relaxed offerings like the Lexus LC.

The Gran Coupe goes head-to-head with the Audi A7 Sportback and Mercedes CLS. All 8 Series get an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all bar the 840i feature xDrive four-wheel drive.

Inside BMW’s own range there’s not much that comes close. Buyers looking for ultimate luxury might consider the larger BMW X7 SUV, while those wanting sporty thrills will arguably be better satisfied behind the wheel of a BMW M4 or M5.

For an alternative review of the BMW 8 Series, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    840i sDrive 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £71,725

Most Economical

  • Name
    840d xDrive MHT M Sport 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £77,260

Fastest

  • Name
    M850i xDrive 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £101,290
Executive editor

Paul was employed across automotive agency and manufacturer-side sectors before joining Auto Express in 2020 as our online reviews editor. After a brief sojourn at a national UK newspaper, Paul returned as executive editor where he now works closely with our commercial partners.

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