After a 20-year absence, BMW has finally summoned up the courage to re-enter the super-luxury coupe market – this time taking special care to avoid mistakes made with the handsome but rather portly first 8 Series. As before, the mission brief was suitably ambitious yet fairly straightforward: combine the comfort and luxury expected from a premium GT car with the high performance dynamics of a sports car, to create a car with a broader breadth of abilities than any of its competitors".
Now, for most manufacturers this would look like quite a challenge, but BMW is not just any manufacturer – it already has decades of experience building ultra fast luxury cars in the form of the BMW M5 and M6. That gave the 8 Series engineers a considerable head start when it came to development.
Using BMW’s innovative ‘Cluster Architecture’ which combines high-strength steel, aluminium, magnesium and carbonfibre-reinforced plastic, BMW has managed to produce a rather svelte luxury GT; the range-topping M850i is a whole 100kg lighter than the equivalent Mercedes S-Class Coupe and a whopping 350kg lighter than a Bentley Continental GT.
The ‘entry-level’ 840d makes use of BMW’s tried and tested turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six diesel with 316bhp, while the range-topping M850i gets a redeveloped version of the M5’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 with 523bhp and a whopping 553lb ft of torque. A cheaper six-cylinder turbo petrol 840i will be available next year, with the full-fat BMW M8 a tantalising prospect later on. All are expected to feature BMW’s impressive xDrive four-wheel drive system.
Over the next few pages we’ll tell you what the 840d and M850i are like to drive, and if you should consider one over the usual GT car suspects. And remember, if after reading our review you decide you want to buy a luxury coupe, head over to our New Car Buying service to find out how much you could save.