BMW 8 Series review 2021

The 8 Series is a sleek executive model that heads up BMW’s line-up.

£56,679
Average price
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2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Great performance
  • High-quality interior
  • Loads of technology

Cons

  • Not as sporty to drive as it looks
  • Not especially practical
  • Low-speed ride could be more comfortable
  • MPG

    28 - 28

  • CO2

    227 - 231 g/km

Model review

BMW is no stranger to niche filling. From seven-seat MPVs through to diesel hatchbacks and performance SUVs, it truly has it all. But in recent years the firm has been lacking that halo GT car to rival the likes of the Mercedes S-Class Coupe. That was until 2018 when the brand debuted its new 8 Series – seeing the return of a nameplate that hadn’t been used for the best part of two decades. It also helped to replace the 6 Series Coupe and Convertible, which were discontinued a few years earlier. 

Offering sleek styling, all the brand’s latest technology and a range of powerful engines, the 8 Series was every bit deserving of its range-topping status. Originally arriving in Coupe form, a Convertible would arrive a few months later as a more appealing drop-top alternative. Sporty looks came as standard thanks to M Sport and ‘M’ versions being the only trims offered, while high-end features like a head-up display and large touchscreen and digital dials were both included as standard.

Latest model

Though it might have seemed like BMW had a pretty complete line-up in its 8 Series range, the German firm didn’t stop there, as a more practical Gran Coupe version was introduced at the very end of 2019. 

Offering an additional pair of doors, the Gran Coupe (BMW’s way of describing a four-door ‘coupe’) has a 201mm longer wheelbase than the Coupe, which goes into giving this model a more practical interior and larger boot. 

BMW also introduced a flagship M8 model to the trio of 8 Series, offering more aggressive looks and more performance, though we’ll put our focus on the main 8 Series in this review. 

Value for money

As one of BMW’s most expensive models – bar the X7 SUV, it has the highest starting price of any model from the firm – it’s no surprise the 8 Series doesn’t exactly prioritise value for money. The range kicks off from £74,640 for the Coupe, £82,075 for the Convertible and £72,575 for the Gran Coupe, so we’re talking a lot of money. However, you get a huge amount for your cash in terms of standard equipment, with the likes of heated leather seats, 20-inch alloy wheels and adaptive LED headlights all included. 

Your best option, though, is to look at the used market where big savings can be had. Two-year-old examples can be comfortably picked up for under £50,000, which is a huge saving off the original list price. Even better deals can be had from nearly-new versions, with delivery mileage examples available for under £60,000 – a huge £13,000 off the original asking price. 

Looks and image

Though a car’s looks will always divide opinion, we reckon few can deny that the 8 Series is one of BMW’s best-looking cars in years. Though the grille might be big and wide, we reckon it’s very well executed, while the long and swooping shape turns heads wherever it goes. There’s no getting away from the fact the 8 Series is a seriously big car, but it pulls off its styling very well. 

Inside, things are just as good, with the 8 Series combining all of the brand’s latest technology into one package. The digital dials and touchscreen are both great to look at and easy to use, while the ergonomics are perfect. It’s every bit as high quality as you’d hope a car of this price to be, while you can choose to add extra style (or chintziness, depending on your view) with a ‘Crafted Clarity' package that brings a crystallised gearstick and engine starter.

Behind the wheel, the 8 Series aims to sit in the middle ground between being super sharp and sporty, but at the same time not totally focused on comfort. It largely hits this brief well – rivals tend to go one way or the other – with a special focus on the driver, yet at the same time being superb on longer trips where this BMW can settle to a cruise in a way few other cars can manage. The low-speed ride can prove to be a bit unsettled, though, so if you spend most of your time wafting around the city, a Mercedes S-Class Coupe could be a better bet.

Space and practicality

Regardless of which 8 Series body style you go for, this is a car that’s appreciated best if you’re in the front seats. Here, there’s acres of room, with plenty of adjustment for both the driver and passenger to ensure there’s no trouble getting comfortable. Despite their size, though, the Coupe and Convertible offer next to no rear space whatsoever, with a minimal amount of legroom and a roof that cuts into headroom. The rear seats are only really suitable for children, then. 

However, the solution is the Gran Coupe, which with its stretched wheelbase offers far more rear space, with plenty of legroom. However, the curve of the roof still eats into headroom, so if you really need plenty of rear space, you’re better off looking at BMW’s 5 Series or 7 Series saloons.

Engines

BMW offers three engine options on the 8 Series – the 840i, M850i and 840d. 

Let’s start with the 840i, which is the most affordable option. Using a 328bhp 3.0-litre petrol engine, it’s able to reach 60mph in five seconds. It’s also the only rear-wheel-drive 8 Series available, though all models use an eight-speed automatic gearbox. 

If you want more in the way of performance – but can’t quite justify the M8 – the M850i is the version to go for. Using a thunderous 532bhp 4.4-litre V8, BMW says it can manage 0-60mph in just 3.6 seconds, which isn’t far off supercar pace. 

The most sensible 8 Series to go for is the 840d – a 335bhp 3.0-litre diesel model. Though it’s still rapid, and is able to propel this BMW to 60mph in just 4.6 seconds. It’s worth noting that these times apply to the standard Coupe, and will be slightly slower for Convertible and Gran Coupe versions due to their extra weight. 

Running costs

If you’re keeping an eye on running costs, without doubt the 8 Series to go for is the 840d. With its diesel engine, BMW claims up to 44.1mpg, with CO2 emissions of 168g/km, which is really quite impressive for a car like this. 

BMW even says the regular 840i petrol can reach 34mpg with sub-200g/km CO2 emissions, though the V8-powered M850i will hit the pocket hard, only managing 26mpg, with CO2 emissions of 244g/km. 

Comparatively high insurance premiums and servicing costs should also be expected. 

Things to look out for

With the 8 Series being sold in relatively small numbers and still being quite new, not a huge amount is known about its reliability. However, it should prove to be a dependable choice, given much of it is shared with other BMWs.  

Rivals

Perhaps the 8 Series’ closest rivals are the Lexus LC and Mercedes S-Class Coupe, though you could also consider the Jaguar F-Type and Porsche 911 if you fancy something sportier, or even a Bentley Continental GT if you have more cash to splash. 

As for rivals to the Gran Coupe, you should take a look at a top-spec Audi A7, a Mercedes CLS and even a Porsche Panamera. 

Depreciation

High-end premium cars don’t have the best reputations for holding their value and the 8 Series is no exception. Though a new buyer is unlikely to pay the full asking price for a new version, models can comfortably be worth £10,000 less than their list price, as soon as they’re driven out of the showroom. It’s worth looking at a nearly-new model for this reason. 

Which 8 Series to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

840i [333] sDrive M Sport 4dr Auto Gran

Most MPG

M850i xDrive 2dr Auto

Fastest model (0-60)

B8 4.4 Bi Turbo 4dr Switch-Tronic AWD Gran

Trims explained

BMW only offers two trims on the 8 Series – the regular M Sport version and the M850i. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

M Sport

The 8 Series comes with a seriously impressive level of equipment, including 20-inch alloy wheels, an electric tailgate, heated sports seats, a heated windscreen and black leather upholstery. You also get electric adjustment for the front seats, adaptive LED headlights, a reversing camera, keyless entry and a head-up display. A large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is also fitted, along with a Harman Kardon sound system and 10.25-inch touchscreen with BMW’s ‘Intelligent Personal Assistant’ voice control included.

From £72,575

M850i

With the M850i, you’re mainly paying for its V8 engine, which delivers nearly 200bhp more than the other two 8 Series models. It can also be spotted by its sports exhaust system, Cerium Grey detailing, more aggressive styling kit and lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels.

From £101,545

Summary

  1. Plush BMW GT car
  2. Available as a Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe
  3. Superb range of engines
  4. Sporty yet also comfortable
  5. Fantastic looks
  6. Luxurious and tech-filled interior
  7. Loads of standard equipment
  8. Expensive to buy new…
  9. But steep depreciation makes it an attractive used choice
  10. A worthy flagship for BMW

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