Destiny has spoken. If you want a sporty and luxurious grand touring car, but can’t stand the thought of spending $220,000 on a Bentley Continental GT, the new BMW 8 Series – in coupe or convertible body style – is the next best thing. Then again, if you want to get your hands on the new BMW 8 Series, the Gran Coupe version will make you pause. Even though the two-door version of the 8 Series is a massive car, there isn’t enough room for adult passengers in the back. I don’t mind having my dog in there when I’m alone, but what if I want to share the driving experience with friends and family?
Hence the 8 Series Gran Coupe. This is why having four doors is more fun in the real world.
Make no mistake about it. The 2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe remains a niche car for a niche set of buyers. Yet it manages to stir the pot and add flavor to a market dominated by the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes-Benz CLS.
The 2020 BMW 8-Series Gran Coupe: Offering More For Less
The good thing is the original design of the 8 Series two-door is also evident in the Gran Coupe version. In fact, both cars are almost identical from the front bumper to the A-pillar, but that’s where the similarities end. Beyond that, everything is unique to the 8 Series Gran Coupe.
Obviously, the Gran Coupe has four doors, so BMW had to make it bigger still. The 8 Series Gran Coupe is nine inches longer and 2.2 inches taller than the original 8 Series Coupe/Convertible. It also happens to be 1.2 inches wider for a more planted look. Enhancing the stance is a rear track measuring 65.8 inches which, mind you, is the widest track of any BMW automobile in existence.
The result is a 7.9 inch longer wheelbase versus the coupe. This means having the proper room for five adults, or maybe four adults and a large dog. The windshield is taller to raise the roofline too. This means 3.4 inches more rear headroom. If you consider the rear legroom increasing by 7.2 inches and shoulder room by 7.7 inches, then you have a spacious and practical GT car with enough cargo space to easily carry a set of golf bags.
Gran Coupe: First BMW 8-Series With An Inline-Six
But don’t think for a second you’re getting a so-so inline six. It’s the latest iteration of the German automaker’s TwinPower 3.0-liter six-cylinder mill. It comes with direct-injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger to churn out 335 horsepower and 368 lb. ft. of torque.
More importantly, all that torque is accessible from 1,600 all the way to 4,500 rpm. This essentially means having the pull of a large, high-tech diesel motor without pushing the pedal to the floor. This new inline-six is unique; the exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head while the charge air cooler is incorporated into the intake system. This design improves flow in all stages of the combustion process. BMW’s fully variable valve-timing system (VALVETRONIC) also helps in improving power delivery. The motor uses a new integral heat exchanger and oil module with a split cooling valve to keep everything cool.
With this mill, the 8 Series Gran Coupe is no slouch. It pulls steadily to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds with rear-wheel drive. The xDrive AWD version achieves the feat in 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph. You can raise that to 155 mph if you ask nicely for high-performance tires.
V8 Power FTW
The inline-six is good and all but what if you want more power? The good news is, the marvelous, 4.4-liter twin-turbo monster in the 8 Series Coupe and Convertible is also available in the Gran Coupe.
The M850i xDrive Gran Coupe produces 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft. of torque and is bristling with technology. The twin-scroll turbochargers are found between the V-shaped cylinder banks of the motor. With high-precision fuel injection, variable valve control, and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing, the mill ensures abrupt power delivery throughout the rev range. On the inside, the cylinder walls are treated with an iron coating and the pistons are further reinforced with a coating of Grafal to eliminate frictional losses. The engine block is crafted from aluminum alloy to reduce weight.
And since the new 8 Series Gran Coupe is a luxury car, BMW included a viscous damper on the crankshaft. This improves the smoothness of the motor even as it strains at higher speeds. With this powerful mill, the new 8 Series Gran Coupe sprints from zero to 60 mph in a supercar-threatening 3.7 seconds.
Related: The big boss gets overhauled: an in-depth look at the 2020 BMW 7 Series.
Transmission & All-Wheel Drive Technology
Both the inline-six and V8 receive an eight-speed Steptronic automatic and xDrive all-wheel drive. The former has an optimized hydraulics control unit for faster and smoother shifts. The transmission adapts the shift parameters to the current driving conditions using the standard navigation system, which is similar to the transmission of a Rolls-Royce.
Meanwhile, the xDrive is a rear-biased system that feeds power strictly to the rear wheels in normal driving mode. It redirects power to the front wheels as needed, courtesy of an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch. It sounds complicated for sure, but it works seamlessly in the background to ensure the best traction on any type of road.
Chassis, Suspension & Steering
Without a doubt, the 2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is essentially a four-door sports car. It was honed and developed together with the 8-Series Coupe and M8 GTE endurance race car. This means a carbon fiber-infused chassis using BMW’s proprietary Carbon Core technology. Suspension-wise, the 8 Series Gran Coupe receives an adaptive M suspension with double-wishbones in the front. The rear consists of a five-link setup with bi-elastic bushings. According to BMW, this enables a balance between sporty handling and a comfortable, silent ride.
The 8 Series Gran Coupe also comes with Integral Active Steering technology. This feature is standard on the 840i XDrive and M850i xDrive while optional on the base 840i RWD. This tech utilizes the electro-mechanical and Servotoronic speed-sensitive steering of the front wheels with the variable steering ratio on the rear axle. The result is better agility at higher speeds and a reduction of the turning circle when maneuvering or parking the vehicle.
Related: 35 years of Bavarian goodness: meet the 2020 BMW M5.
Luxurious Interior (And Then Some)
Without question, the luxury theme is eminent inside the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe. The dashboard and upper door panels are covered in Nappa leather. The seats are wrapped in premium Vernasca leather in ivory white, black, or cognac. Two-tone leather seats are available as well. The extended center console – unique to the Gran Coupe – continues to the rear and divides the individually-styled right and left seats without obstructing the center seat. This center console houses climate controls, air vents, a storage tray, and USB ports for the rear occupants.
The 8 Series Gran Coupe 840i and 840i XDrive come standard with just about everything: 18-inch wheels, remote engine start, and a panoramic moonroof; the seats, armrests and steering wheel are heated; LED headlights with BMW Laserlight and a heads-up display are also standard. In addition, the 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, wireless charging, and Wi-Fi hotspot are all standard. BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional with iDrive 7 and Apple CarPlay round out the long list of tech features.
Safety & Security
The driving assistance package is optional on all trim models of the 8 Series Gran Coupe. This includes a surround view 3D camera, active park control, active driving assistant, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, and parking assistant plus. Upgrading to the Driving Assistance Professional Package gives you more yet: active cruise control with stop & go, active blind spot protection, frontal collision warning, active lane keeping assist with side-collision avoidance, and an emergency stop assistant system.
Wheel & Kit Upgrades
The M Sport Package increases the wheel size to either 19 inches with all-season run-flat tires, or 20 inches with high-performance run-flats. This package also throws in a new M steering wheel, multi-functional seats, and an aerodynamic kit among other things. The M850i xDrive with the V8 motor gets even more kit, including 20-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension and M sport differential, sport brakes and exhaust, and ventilated seats.
2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe: Pricing & Availability
The 2020 BMW 840i Gran Coupe starts at $84,900. The 840i XDrive Gran Coupe has a base price of $108,900. Compare this with the $112,000 base price of the 8 Series Coupe with the same V8 engine and xDrive AWD, you get more doors, more space, and a car that still looks awesome despite paying less.
Meanwhile, the M850i xDrive starts at $108,900. Expect the first deliveries to commence in September.
Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.
Photos & Source: BMW of North America, LLC.