- Car Reviews
- 8 Series
What is it like on the inside?
Here's what we mean when we say the 8 Series might not be distinctive enough.
Much of it is just like the rest of the 2018-onwards family of BMWs. Thumb the ignition and the displays that light up – HUD, instruments, centre screen – are exactly what you'll get on a well-optioned new 3 Series. The switches and software and iDrive too.
Mostly, this stuff of course works vastly better than what's in the high-zoot independent brands like Aston Martin or McLaren, or the non-independent Lexus for that matter. The iDrive screen is further developed, and has more display resolution, is more connected, and is more responsive than ever.
The head-up display, a standard fit, is awesome. It's huge, clear and carries loads of usefully context-dependent info.
Just as well actually, as the new TFT-screen instrument cluster is a mess. There's a big area in the centre that shows navigation diagrams, which can't be used for anything else if you know where you're going. Alongside is a near-unreadable rev-counter. In compensation you get a tach in the HUD when in sports mode. The new climate controls are a bit fiddlier than BMW's previous efforts too, and the silver buttons are impossible to read when backlit. And while Apple CarPlay-over-Bluetooth is a convenient idea, it was glitchy in the test cars. That's a nitpicking paragraph, but more nits than you expect.
The dash and doors are swathed in beautifully stitched leather. The front seats are a good place to be, poly-adjustable and supportive. The back ones aren't. They're horribly cramped, for knees and heads. At least the boot is biggish, and folding the useless back seats extends it some more. Around the front cockpit you'll find useful storage. Well-judged packaging choices for a long-trip car. A GT.