Okay y’all, here we go again. BMW is having another run at making a big coupe. For reasons that are beyond me, the Bavarian company seems to have a hard time getting things just right in this arena. As a matter of fact, they haven’t even tried to take a crack at this for 20 years.
It was 20 years ago that BMW gave up on trying to make their last big coupe, coincidentally also an 8 Series, work financially. The last 8 Series coupe was a serious car. It wasn’t a sports car, it was too big and heavy to be considered that, but what it did have was still impressive: Lots of technology and a big, whopping V12 engine.
It was what a German Architect would drive: Stylish, exclusive, powerful, expensive. But for some reason, BMW could never seem to sell those things. The only people who likeed them were NBA players (they were incredibly roomy), but NBA players are a pretty small market, so BMW finally stopped.
Honest & Handsome
Fast forward to today, and BMW wants another try. Ever since the passing of the glorious 3.0 CS, 3.0 CSi, and the sublime 3.0 CSL, BMW has been wanting a coupe that says, “See! You best take us seriously buddy.” And with the all-new 2019 8 Series Coupe, they might just have an answer in the affirmative.
The 2019 BMW 8 Series Coupe will never be called a beautiful car; brutally handsome fits better. The production version looks a lot like the show car that debuted at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2017. BMW says the styling focuses on modernity and emotional engagement. I say it’s sort of the automotive equivalent of Sonny Corleone; more purposeful than beautiful, stronger, rather than graceful. It’s not a scalpel, it’s a cleaver, and a very sharp one at that.
The styling is all low-slung and elongated silhouettes, slim window pillars and “double-bubble” contouring, long wheelbase, and wide track.
Power & Performance
All this „Geh mir aus dem Weg, ich bin ein Ruck mit viel Geld“ style gets moving thanks to a new aluminum alloy, TwinPower Turbo V8 engine; a 4.4-liter mill with two twin-scroll turbochargers with charge air cooling located within the cylinder’s V. It’s managed by High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control, and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing. The engine’s note is described as “enthralling” (for what that’s worth) and the entire package is further regulated by a Driving Experience Control switch that can tweak stuff like accelerator response, comfort versus performance, power delivery, and acoustics.
Bottom line for the new V8 engine: 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft. of torque.
After the engine comes an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission with wider ratios and quicker gear shifts. Weight has been reduced, gear shifts are sharper, rotational forces are reduced, and the whole deal is controlled via a bunch of computers between your fingertips on the shift paddles and the transmission.
And yes, the 2019 BMW 8 Series will be all-wheel drive. Currently, no other option exists. BMW says the xDrive system has been improved and comes with an electronically-controlled differential lock. Thankfully, BMW says all of the drive torque is directed to the rear wheels in situations when all-wheel drive is not needed. The system’s rear-biased setup promises a driving experience above and beyond the luxuries this car carries.
All this adds up to the new 2019 BMW M850i xDrive doing zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, topping out at a limited 155 mph (boo!).
Suspension & Braking
The suspension for the new 8 is a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear design. An electro-mechanical steering box points the front end, which is held up by torsion struts, while the rear axle rides on independent rubber bearings to increase camber stiffness and enhance the suspension’s baseline setup.
Also standard is an Adaptive M suspension with electronically-controlled dampers; both compression and rebound are adjusted continuously and independently. Yes, like the engine and trans, the suspension is also controlled and adjusted via the Driving Experience Control switch.
Braking? C’mon man, this is a BMW, it’s got brakes that could stop a train. The 8 Series Coupe is whoa’ed up with four-piston, fixed-caliper brakes at the front and single-piston, floating-caliper brakes at the rear. There’s an electronic parking brake (boo!) and the DSC stability control is fully integrated into the braking system.
Pricing & Availability
The new coupe will be built at the BMW Dingolfing plant in Germany. When it arrives in showrooms this December, the 2019 M850i xDrive Coupe will start at $111,900 plus $995 for destination and handling.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz