BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is a Party in the Back

Anthony Magagnoli
by Anthony Magagnoli

The ultra-luxurious new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe has been unveiled with four doors and a striking rear end.

The entry-level 8 Series Gran Coupe will be in the form of the rear-wheel drive 840i. With the 340-hp turbo inline-six, the cost of entry begins at $84,990, plus $995 destination. Meanwhile, the M850i xDrive will start at $109,895.

On many cars, the design of the rear seems like an afterthought — or possibly a feature designed by a separate team from the front. Either way, it’s rare that a rear end is the most striking part of a car’s design. Here, though, BMW has crafted such complexity and visual strength, that I find myself continuing to stare at the rear ¾ view.

The front end of the 8 Series Gran Coupe is a duplicate of the Coupe, while the A-pillar rearward is unique. The manufacturer states that the 8 Series Gran Coupe has, “More legroom than ever in a BMW coupe.” That’s because it’s not a coupe, BMW.

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As compared to the Coupe, the GC is taller (+61 mm), wider (+30 mm), and longer (+231 mm), with a wheelbase that’s been stretched by 201 mm. Considering this car is actually likely to carry rear passengers, the shape had to change to provide the head and legroom necessary to house them. The form that is struck by as the C-pillar joins the rear of the car is muscular and distinctive. It is my personal opinion, but I strongly prefer a sharp definition to the end of a trunk lid — which every other 4-door coupe that I can think of lacks.

BMW might have consciously designed the car to avoid the need for a motorized rear spoiler to create downforce. With weight management in mind, the doors, outer skin of the roof, hood, front shear panel, engine subframe, front bulkhead, and rear bumper support are all made from aluminum. That complex trunk lid is plastic, the cockpit support is magnesium, and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic is used in the center tunnel to reduce heft and maximize rigidity where necessary. As a result, the Grand Coupe’s weight gain was limited to 154 lbs. There will also be an optional carbon-fiber roof that will replace the heavy glass double sunroof and offer a lower the center of gravity.

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With two engines available at launch, the 840i Gran Coupe will be offered with the aforementioned 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbo inline-six, making 340 hp and 369 lb-ft. This will be routed through the 8-speed automatic to the rear wheels, through a standard M Sport active locking differential. All-wheel drive is offered in the 840i xDrive Gran Coupe and the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 makes a stated 530 hp and 553 lb-ft and will only be offered in the xDrive application. The M8 is expected to share the running gear with the current M5, including the AWD system.

The rear seats in the 8 Series Gran Coupe are formed to mimic the fronts, providing rear occupants an increased level of lateral support in the case of an enthusiastic chauffeur. The center console extends all the way to the rear of the cabin, all but negating the use of the back’s center seat. BMW calls it a 4+1-seater, but the belt is probably just there to appease some government agency on the off chance it gets used.

A multitude of interior finishes and colors will be available but I hope every buyer will option a two-tone interior like that in the photos. Those rear seats look like they should be fitted to a car with a Shelby badge on it and that’s not a bad thing. The instrument panel and doors will feature leather wraps to compliment the chairs, which are sport seats as standard. However, M Sport seats are available in M Sport package cars and the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe.

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Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli

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