Cover BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupe. Image: BMW

Do we smell a road trip coming?

The new BMW 8 Series uses a name that was last employed in 1999 when the final E31 8 Series Coupe rolled off the German marque’s production line. The new release is arguably one of the most eagerly awaited models from BMW in recent years. Before its launch, the 6 Series had been flying the flag as the carmaker’s top-of-the-line grand tourer (GT) coupe.

With the revival of the 8 Series name, the new model, which was codenamed G15, certainly has much to live up to. Also, the series’ number 8 alludes to the elevated status within BMW’s stable—think the BMW Z8, which has been discontinued since 2003, and the current BMW i8, both of which represent the creme de la creme of its type. The new 8 Series is also a key component of the luxury segment offensive set out by the BMW Group as part of its “Number One > Next” strategy, a future-proofing master plan to maintain the brand’s success sustainably, while focusing on developing electric mobility.

(Related: BMW Reveals More Details About Its New And Powerful All-Electric i4 Sedan)

Zooming in on the details

Currently available in three variants—the two-door M850i xDrive Coupe and Convertible, as well as the four‑door Gran Coupe—the new BMW 8 Series boasts the fastest and safest rides in their respective categories. All three variants come with the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system, while only one drivetrain is offered for the series—a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 engine with 530hp and 750Nm mated to an 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission.

Word has it that the rear-wheel drive BMW 840i Gran Coupe will be available soon too. It is propelled by a turbocharged 3.0L in-line six-cylinder engine with 340hp and 500Nm, and its century sprint takes 5.2sec.

The coupe’s low-slung design has a stretched silhouette and a roofline flowing stylishly into the powerfully shaped rear. Couple that with a long wheelbase and a wide track, all these elements hint at the car’s potent performance.

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The Gran Coupe is similar in design to the coupe but its more upright stance means a more capacious cabin. And with a wheelbase that is 20cm longer than the coupe’s, there is ample legroom and headroom for passengers. As for the convertible, open-air pleasure for four people is available at just a touch of a button with a fully electric soft-top, which opens and closes quietly in 15sec and at speeds of up to 50km/h.

BMW Laserlight, a highly efficient lighting technology, is standard on all three 8 Series models. The slimmest headlights of any BMW model to date and with a high beam range of 600m, it features light tubes that generate daytime driving lights as well as the low and high beam.

Aside from a slew of M Sport components such as adaptive suspension, rear differential (with electronic lock) and aero body parts, other noteworthy standard features include BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which comprises a high-resolution instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. Music lovers will also appreciate the Harman Kardon Surround Sound System with an output of 464 watts and 16 speakers.

(Related: 5 Reasons To Love The BMW 8 Series Coupe)

The 8 on steroids

For the hardcore motoring enthusiasts in search of more performance, the highly potent M8 will join the 8 Series stable in the first quarter of next year. Like the M850i xDrive, the M8 will also feature three variants and that is not the only similarity. The engine under the bonnet is also a 4.4L V8 with twin turbochargers.

But as we understand, the M8 will bring firepower to BMW like never before. Case in point: the competition specification of the M8—its power will be boosted considerably to 625hp, compared to the 600hp for the base M8. This makes it the most powerful engine BMW has ever put into an M model. The M8 Coupe and Gran Coupe take a mere 3.2sec for the 0 to 100km/h dash, while the Convertible takes slightly longer at 3.3sec. (In comparison, the 680hp V12 Ferrari GTC4Lusso completes the sprint in 3.4sec, while the new Bentley Continental GT, with 626hp and 900Nm from its twin‑turbocharged 6.0L W12 engine, needs 3.7sec.)

While it is still early days to determine how well the new 8 Series will do, BMW’s new GT has every chance of being a great success. It has a sexy, low-slung silhouette and a spacious cabin that seats four in comfort, making it more practical than most of its competitors. And if an M model is preferred, we are looking at a speed machine that can set the asphalt on fire, while also fanning the flames of desire in any petrolhead.

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Five minutes with: BMW Group Asia's Christopher Wehner on the new model

Why was the “8 Series” name revived?

Christopher Wehner (CW) Both in the past and in the present, the number 8 has stood and still stands for highly emotional and sporty concepts in BMW’s luxury class. In this context, the Z8 roadster, the first-generation 8 Series Coupe, and the current i8 hybrid sports car are stellar examples.

Tatler Asia
Above Christopher Wehner, managing director of BMW Group Asia

Will the introduction of the 8 Series affect the 6 Series?

CW The new 8 Series is not the successor to the 6 Series. The current 6 Series will continue to exist with the 6 Series GT, which was introduced in 2017. However, the 6 Series Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe will no longer be available until further notice. 

How does BMW see the 8 Series from the design perspective?

CW The new 8 Series is one of our most elegant and sportiest cars. The new and expressive design language ensures that it will always make a strong statement in the world of luxury cars. I would like to add that the exclusive choice of materials and highest degree of workmanship render the new 8 Series a very luxurious and dynamic model range within the BMW product portfolio.

How about in the areas of performance and sustainability?

CW The BMW 8 Series has outstanding performance and dynamic handling. Presently, our top Gran Coupe variant, the M850i xDrive, accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in only 3.9sec, while its two-door coupe sibling accomplishes the same feat in 3.7sec. In the areas of sustainability, all 8 Series models are highly efficient. In some markets, we also offer versions with diesel engines, which are among the most efficient used in cars today.

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