BMW_M850i_GranCoupe_frontHaving four-door practicality in a full-on sportscar is a clever bit of engineering by the guys and gals from Bayerische Motoren Werke in Germany.

To make the extra space for the back seats the Gran Coupé is longer than the 8 Series Coupé and Convertible and rides on a 200mm greater wheelbase.

It’s more likely to be purchased by those looking for a fast long distance cruiser than a sports machine, but the choice is there thanks to the ability to select from variable suspension choices.

BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé is offered in two models, the 840i and M850i xDrive. The latter is the subject of this week’s road test.

The BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé has a swooping roofline and a tucked-in glasshouse, flared wheel arches and trapezoidal exhaust pipes.

The M Carbon Exterior package is optional and includes various M Performance carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) accessories such as M carbon Air Curtain, M carbon mirror caps and single-piece carbon finishers around the tailpipes.


Multifunctional seats for the driver and front passenger with additional adjustment functions for superior comfort, and are trimmed in BMW Individual Extended leather ‘Merino’ upholstery.

The two rear seats are individual units have high levels of lateral support in case the driver gets over enthusiastic during cornering. A fifth passenger can be accommodated, without a great deal of comfort in the squeezy middle rear seat.

As a true passenger car the Gran Coupé has 440 litres of luggage capacity. There are folding rear seat backrests with a 40/20/40 split. These can be folded independently of each other.

BMW Operating System 7.0 has a 10.25-inch infotainment display which can be operated via the iDrive Controller, also by steering wheel controls, touchscreen, gesture control or voice control.

BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, enables interaction and command operation through voice command. This is activated through the phrase ‘Hey BMW’. It provides information for vehicle functions as well as assisting with navigation or multimedia requirements.


The M850i has a brilliant 4.4-litre V8 dual-turbo petrol engine producing up to 390kW of power and 750Nm of torque. It has the M Performance specific xDrive all-wheel drive system. It accelerates from zero to 100km/h in only 3.9 seconds.

The 840i uses a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo-petrol engine with 250kW and 500Nm peak torque. It drives the rear wheels.

Both engines are coupled with an eight-speed sports automatic with shifter paddles.

As well as excellent ability to avoid having a crash the big Bimmer has airbags for driver and front passenger, side airbags for driver and front passenger, head airbags for front and rear seats, three-point inertia-reel seatbelts on all seats, belt latch tensioner and belt force limiter.

BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé uses the latest driver assistance systems with Driving Assistant Professional and Parking Assistant Plus.

It’s absolutely delightful to drive. Throttle response is virtually instantaneous thanks to clever engineering in the dual-turbo system as well as the large capacity V8. It’s so far ahed of any other turbo we have driven to date that it makes the others feel dull by comparison.

BMW M850i has xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system with a pronounced rear bias, and Adaptive M Suspension Professional with an active anti-roll stabilisation system.

If you get an opportunity to sample that zero to a hundred in under four seconds part of your test drive – take it!

The steering reacts the moment you move the wheel and sends excellent feedback so that you know exactly what is happening.

A stiff chassis structure, combined with M suspension components such as Integral Active Steering, M Sport differential and Adaptive M Suspension, ensures maximum traction.

Ride comfort is good as, again you have choices between the suspension settings. Unless you’re in the mood for a fang through your favourite hilly areas you will probably find that having a little more comfort works nicely.

Road noise suppression is generally good, but there is some bump-thump on road-join strips, particularly on bridges.

BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional has a 12.3-inch customisable instrument display and a full colour BMW Head-up display. We preferred to have the in what you would call driver mode, with large dials. But may we suggest you try for yourself during your pre-purchase test drive.

Indeed tell the sales folks that you need to spend serious time behind the wheel as there are so many features than you need to check out.

Confession Time: Having road tested many thousands of cars over almost 50 years I almost invariably walk away from the vehicle at the end of the week without a backward glance. It wasn’t like that with the BMW M850i Gran Coupé xDrive, if I had a spare $300,000 I would buy one – but I don’t. Sigh…


3.0 840i: $204,900
4.4 M850i xDrive: $277,900
4.4 M8 Competition: $354,900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local BMW dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupe 4.4-litre four-door coupe)

Capacity: 4.395 litres
Configuration: V8
Maximum Power: 390 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 750 Nm @ 180rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): Not provided
CO2 Emissions: 245 g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed steptronic

Length: 5082 mm
Wheelbase: 3023 mm
Width: 1932 mm
Height: 1407 mm
Turning Circle: 12.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1995 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 68 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Three years / unlimited kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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