Ok, so there is more to this car than just taking an 8 Series Coupe and adding some doors behind the fronts — it’s actually a noticeably larger form overall. It’s grown 231mm in length, 30mm in width and 61mm in height.
Some design alterations have been made to the car too. Though its front end is identical to the coupe, the windscreen is slightly steeper as a result of a higher roof, with a similar approach taken for the rear window to maximise boot space.
The new 8 Series Gran Coupé cannot be considered ugly — in fact it has a rather fetching silhouette, and the sculpted rear end is very pleasing to the eye — but that stretched body and raised roofline inevitably compromise the aesthetics to some extent.
The standard 8 is an achingly beautiful car, a sleek arrow-like machine harking back to the legendary E31 8 Series from the 1990s. The Gran Coupé is much more lumpen by comparison, but compare it to the Porsche Panamera Turbo and the BMW is subjectively the more attractive of the two.
Open the rear doors (of which there are none on the standard 8, of course) and any concerns about compromised looks vanish, as you take in the acres of space back there. Two inviting sports seats (this is a pure four-seater), featuring cobra-like backrests, greet you. Climb in and the levels of comfort are impressive, with plenty of legroom for those well over six foot. The very tallest rear passengers might complain about headroom, though most adults will have plenty of space all round.
The 8-Series Gran Coupe was unveiled this past June, featuring a taller roof than the regular Coupe model, but also two extra doors, a larger overall exterior and a wheelbase that’s been stretched by 7.9 inches (200.7 mm).
In the front, it’s familiar BMW fare and those used to the 8 Series will find it hard to spot an difference, although the extended centre console is exclusive to the Gran Coupé. It’s very smart and solid, with the centre screen being both clear and quick to operate, if not the largest or most impressive option on the market.
In terms of interior space, there an extra 3.4-inches (86.4 mm) of rear seat headroom, to go with 7.1 inches (180.3 mm) of additional legroom. The dashboard meanwhile is the same as the one in the two-door model, meaning you get the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, alongside the 10.25-inch infotainment display.
Ambient lighting, heated front seats, head-up display, wireless smartphone charging and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system are among the car’s standard features, although if you’re willing to pay extra, you could go for something like the Driving Assistance Professional package which adds Active Cruise Control, Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Surround View Camera, Parking Assistant, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Speed Limit Information.
You can control it in a number of ways: directly via touch; with the traditional iDrive wheel between the front seats; gesture control; or Alexa-style smart voice command. A plethora of control methods might seem like a good idea but the last two are somewhat gimmicky.
Saying, “Hey, BMW, I’m tired,” launches a programme of music, ambient light and air conditioning designed to keep you alert, for example, which is presumably for people who can’t open the window and pull over for an extra strong flat white. And “Hey, BMW, turn on my heated seat,” is presumably for those so exhausted they can’t even summon the strength to press the heated seat button on the dashboard.
Gesture controls seem to be even more of a waste of time. Turning up the volume by winding your index finger clockwise or counter-clockwise in front of the dashboard seems ridiculous given that the volume control knob is mere millimetres in front of your hand.
The base petrol motor was plenty powerful enough, too. While the 840i’s power peaks just before 5,000rpm, maximum torque is available from as a low as 1,600rpm and stays with you up to 4,500rpm, meaning it was more than capable of quick overtakes at most speeds.
There are three versions available to us at present: the 3-litre, six-cylinder petrol-powered 840i Gran Coupé, producing 340hp and capable of 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds; the 3-litre, six-cylinder 840d xDrive Gran Coupé, which has 320hp and is heavier but gains extra torque from the diesel motor, as well as four-wheel drive, so manages 0-62mph a fraction quicker (5.1sec); and the range-topping 4.4-litre 8 petrol-powered M850i xDrive, which produces 530hp and 553 lb-ft or torque, making it good for 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds — not bad for a cruiser that weighs more than two tonnes.
Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are amazingly good for the 840i and 840d xDrive — officially 37.7-38.2mpg/168-170gkm and 44.8-45.6mpg/162-166g/km respectively. Of course, the M850i xDrive couldn’t be called frugal, managing 28.2-28.5mg/226-229g/km.
The M850i xDrive in M Sport trim is tremendous fun, though, with a wall of power to give it the true luxury grand tourer feel. Even this will be out-gunned in due course, though, as an M8 Gran Coupé is on the way, based on the M8 version of the 8 Series Coupé.
The 840i Gran Coupe starts at $85,895 in the US, while the M850i xDrive comes in at $109,895 (both prices include $995 for destination). That means the Gran Coupes are $3,000 cheaper than their equivalent two-door counterparts.
Added functionality, with no tradeoffs in luxury, tech or performance. It’s no wonder BMW’s best-selling coupes are the ones with four doors.