CarBuyer has sneaked a peek at the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, deep underground in a secret studio. Here’s what we saw…
FARO, PORTUGAL — This is the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, the four-door iteration of the brand’s flagship sportscar that so far has only been shown (and driven) in coupe and Convertible form.
Here in abbreviation-mad Singapore, people will inevitably call the Gran Coupe the “8 Series GC”, but internally its codename is G16, while BMW insiders call the Coupe G15 and the Convertible (below), G14.
BMW is only revealing the 8 Series Gran Coupe in full on June 25th at its #NextGen conference in Munich, with production set to commence in September. You should see the car in Singapore by the fourth quarter of 2019 (unless BMW saves it for a Singapore Motorshow launch in early 2020).
But Uwe Greiner, the 8 Series product manager, walked CarBuyer through the new four-door coupe (above) at a closed-door preview in March. And what we saw, we liked. It’s a sleek, well-proportioned car that should cut a fine if understated dash on the road.
First things first, the G16 is obviously larger than its two-door siblings, though it doesn’t strike you as being imposingly big despite stretching past 5 metres nose-to-tail. It’s 60mm taller and 230mm longer than the Coupe (which is 4,843mm long) because, well, it has two proper rear doors.
200mm of the extra length comes from extending the wheelbase, and the result is good: the Gran Coupe is surprisingly spacious in the back, both in terms of headroom and legroom. Even with a rear sunroof fitted, there’s enough room in the rear for a well-nourished adult, and the experience of being back there is unlikely to feel grim.
As for the front of the cabin, there’s little to report. That’s because the steering wheel, dashboard, centre console and front seats are all straight out of the Coupe. The latest digital dashboard and touchscreen system that you’ll find in current BMWs are there, with the glass-topped “crystal” gearknob and iDrive controller available as options.
But take a closer look at the back, and you’ll notice that there are three rear seatbelts. In spite of the sculpted shape of the rear seats that makes them look like individual chairs, the 8 Series Gran Coupe will be homologated (meaning approved for sale) as a five-seater, although a “4+1” is probably more accurate.
Given how there’s a console in the middle with air-con vents, the person straddling it is in for an experience that’s a bit Siberian in the wilderness region, if you know what we mean.
Still, the G16 is obviously meant to be the practical member of the 8 Series family. The boot is a creditable 440 litres in size, and expands when you fold the rear seats.
Mind you, the loading lip is pretty high, so if you have something heavy to heave into the rear end, be prepared to heave hard.
But what a pretty rear end it is. The GC’s taillights are actually the same as those from the coupe/Convertible, and the back of the car itself has a wider track (by 40mm), to accommodate a broader shoulder line and give the car a proper stance.
The rear window frame is slightly buttressed, and the air that flows over the roof sweeps down to a ducktail that’s functional — it cuts aerodynamic lift, meaning it should help the car feel more stable at autobahn speeds.
Despite all the extra metal and the larger size, Mr Greiner told us the Gran Coupe is only 70kg heavier than the Coupe, give or take. The doors are made of aluminium instead of steel to offset some of the added heft that the bigger size brings.
The slight weight gain means the four-door car will be slightly slower than the Coupe to 100km/h, around 0.1 to 0.2 seconds, BMW reckons.
As for engines, expect the first model to be an M850i xDrive with the same 530 horsepower V8 twin-turbo from the Coupe and Convertible, plus another petrol in the form of the 3.0-litre turbo in-line six that should give an 840i at least 340hp.
Eventually BMW M will top the 8 Series range with M8 Gran Coupe and M8 Competition Gran Coupe models, propelled by 600hp and 625hp respectively. Expect the latter to hit 100km/h in a stonking 3.3 seconds, we reckon.
With the 6 Series family, BMW priced the GC between Coupe and Convertible models, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect the same here. The M850i Coupe is listed at $612,888 with Certificate Of Entitlement at the moment, in case you’re doing your sums as you ponder adding the Gran Coupe to your fleet.
However the pricing turns out, BMW expects most people to choose four doors over two. Mr Greiner says he personally thinks more than half of all 8 Series sales will come from the Gran Coupe, especially since the market for two-door cars is in overall decline.
But the four-door coupe format is still going strong, Mr Greiner said. “This idea works everywhere,” he told us. In the case of the 8 Series Gran Coupe, it’s not hard to see why: it’s a beautiful idea.
Photos by Fabian Kirschbauer
We drove the M850i Coupe here, and it’s luverly…
But the 8 Series Convertible is even more luverly (although we ruined the tyres on this one. Oops!)
But what’s this! Mercedes-AMG has a four-door coupe too, and it’s mental (but so is the price)!