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Car Review

BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe review

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Published: 16 Dec 2019
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The 8 Series Gran Coupe is among the sharpest cars in its class, helped by a slimmer kerb weight than most of its rivals – stick with the entry-level 840i and it’s 1.8 tons, which ought not to be a miracle, but it kinda feels it when a car is over five metres long and as plushly attired inside.

You really should stick with the 840i if you can, too: without a driven front axle (though with the optional, £1,795 rear-wheel steering fitted) it has a deftness, keenness and natural balance that’s familiar from straight-six-powered, rear-driven BMW saloons of old.

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It’s a slightly blunter, more modern take on the whole thing, of course. But there’s a tangible feeling that the chassis engineers all own (or were made to go and drive) an old E46 328i to get a feeling of where BMW’s DNA should lie. Crucial in a world of 2 Series Active Tourers and X7s, which have brought on something of a BMW-malaise among the most curmudgeonly car enthusiasts.

It’s more than quick enough, too, and it’s a belter of an engine, one mated so perfectly to its automatic gearbox, you might never have the urge to pull away at the paddles.

We can see why it would be hard to resist the burlier powertrains, mind, not least because they get rear-wheel steering as standard. The 840d will bring the kind of effortless pace that troubles the cleanliness of even the most well-kept driving licences, while the M-badged cars – the full-strength M8 and halfway-house M850i – have a vigour and aggression that perhaps suits the Gran Coupe’s aesthetic swagger best.

The former has a ‘drift mode’ when you loosen its electronic shackles, but it’s also – with some modest options box-ticking – twice the price of that 840i base car. Money that, if the M6 Gran Coupe is anything to go by, will be shed heartbreakingly quickly if you’re buying the car rather than leasing it.

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