BMW 8 Series review - Interior, design and technology
It looks brutish and aggressive on the outside, but the design wraps a technological tour-de-force
It’s fair to say there’s not much revolutionary about the 8 Series concept. It’s a brutish two-door coupe with a long nose, swooping roofline and powerful haunches – characteristics which have been admired by performance car enthusiasts for well over half a century.
When it was launched we initially thought it looked quite brutish and perhaps a little fussy by BMW standards, but since then we’ve seen BMW’s iconic kidney grille grow and some controversial designs hit the road so the 8 Series has softened in comparison.
Whatever trim level you choose, the 8 Series still has plenty of presence on the road. 20-inch alloy wheels fill the arches, and the sense of the exotic is heightened by the standard LED lights or optional laser headlamps. The front grille is typical BMW with a broad double-kidney treatment and big air vents, while the side view is pure muscle car. 20-inch alloy wheels fill the arches, and the sense of the exotic is heightened by the standard LED lights or optional laser headlamps. The front grille is typical BMW with a broad double-kidney treatment and big air vents, while the side view is pure muscle car.
Under its skin the 8 Series uses BMW’s modular CLAR platform with Carbon Core tech that integrates carbon-fibre into the structure. Other features of the platform technology package include GPS-controlled shifts for the auto transmission, and an advanced start-stop system using cameras as well as sensors.
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Inside the 8 Series has a very contemporary feel, with plenty of buttons and touchpoints similar to a 5 Series. It’s beautifully finished though, with peerless craftsmanship and extremely high quality materials. It’s also packed with all the tech you’d expect of a luxury grand tourer.
If you want to personalise your 8 series, then BMW has a range of equipment packs to choose from. However, they are quite costly, so you'll need to be careful with your specification.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The core of the infotainment system is built around BMW’s 12.3-inch live cockpit digital dashboard and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen - which received an extensive update during the mid-life facelift of 2022. These are backed up by a standard-fit head-up display that projects vital info onto the windscreen. It’s all very highly specced and operates via BMW’s extremely slick latest iDrive system with its knurled control knob situated next to the transmission shifter. The only bugbear is the absence of Android Auto, but BMW included it from mid-2020 so watch out for that if you’re buying used. In all other respects it’s a masterclass in intuitive connectivity, although it might lack the wow factor compared to the new SL’s interior.
In this review
- 1BMW 8 Series reviewMuscle car performance and proportions give BMW’s 8 Series old-school appeal, but it’s packed with the latest technology
- 2Engines, performance and driveA luxurious cruiser that never lets you forget its weight, but is impressively rapid in M guise
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsBMW 8 Series running costs are par for the course, but high enough to make most drivers wince
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingIt looks brutish and aggressive on the outside, but the design wraps a technological tour-de-force
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe 8 Series has a large boot, but if you're prioritising practicality then you'll need the four-door Gran Coupe model
- 6Reliability and SafetyThere’s no shortage of safety technology for the 8 Series, while Driver Power customer satisfaction ratings are improving