Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt First drive: BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé
Cookies on Businesscar

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Business Car website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookies at any time

BusinessCar magazine website email Awards mobile

The start point for the best source of fleet information

First drive: BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé

Date: 01 July 2020   |   Author: Simon Harris

A bit more special than the 5 Series, but more driver-focused than the 7 Series, we check out BMW's largest four-door coupé.
Standard equipment:
Leather seats, wireless phone charging tray, electrically adjustable, heated and folding exterior mirrors, heated seats front and rear, BMW Display Key, BMW Live Cockpit Professional, 205W audio system, four-zone automatic climate control
Petrol: 340hp 3.0, 530hp 4.4
Diesel: 320hp 3.0
Equipment grades:
Standard, Ultimate
Eight-speed auto

As range restructuring goes, BMW's return of the 8 Series to accommodate its large coupé and convertible models is one that would divide automotive enthusiasts.

The original 6 Series coupé was BMW at its most elegant in the 1970s and 1980s. The original 8 Series Coupé was an automotive icon of the 1990s.

When the 6 Series was revived in 2003, like the 8 Series, it was available as a coupe or convertible, and the next generation added a four-door Gran Coupé.

The latest 8 Series comes out of a reshuffle that saw the 5 Series GT long-wheelbase hatchback become a 6 Series, while the Coupé, Convertible and Gran Coupé now all wear the 8 moniker.

The Gran Coupé, whether in the 6 Series or 8 Series range, is essentially a sleeker saloon. Semantics about what 'coupé' actually means are unhelpful. To contextualise it in the marketplace, it's a rival for the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7 Sportback - a clear step above the exec saloons for exclusivity, but retaining some of their usability with four doors.

The front end of the 8 Series is almost identical to the Coupé version we featured a few months ago, which is no bad thing. There are some complaints these days about how the BMW grille has grown to dominate the front end of its cars, but the 8 Series strikes a good balance, giving significantly more width than height.

The car changes from the base of the windscreen rearwards - as the windscreen frame is slightly more upright, the roofline rises to a greater height by the time it reaches the front seats, meaning additional front and rear headroom compared with the two-door versions of the 8 series. And it definitely looks more special than a typical large BMW.

Inside, it will be familiar to anyone who drives a BMW, although the low seating position emphasises the separation of driver and front passenger with the transmission tunnel. In the rear, there are two individual seats with a plus-one fold-down seat and seat belt, which might be suitable for short journeys.

The engine we tried is the 320hp six-cylinder diesel in the 840d, which is likely to be the most popular option for company executives with this car on their choice list, although there were also 840i and M850i petrol derivatives from launch, the former with a 340hp 3.0-litre petrol engine, and the latter with a 530hp 4.4-litre V8 and a more sports-honed chassis set-up.

The 840d and M850i come with xDrive all-wheel drive, while, as of this summer, the range is joined by a high-performance M8 with 625hp.

Our six-cylinder diesel test car might be the preferred choice for those choosing one as a company vehicle, but it has higher BIK tax than the entry-level 840i, with WLTP pushing all engines up to the maximum 37% band.

In a sense, many of the switched-on company directors will now be looking for plug-in hybrid cars or fully electric to minimise their tax liability, as the diesel's £75,000 price tag puts it in Tesla, Audi E-tron and Jaguar I-Pace territory, as well as nibbling at the fringes of Porsche Taycan prices with a few options fitted.

Of course, the 840d drives extremely well, with plenty of subdued shove from the 320hp diesel deployed through the smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. It feels remarkably nimble for its size, and while firm, doesn't make too much fuss about most of the bumps and imperfections on the road surface.

It's an extremely appealing car to drive and live with, in isolation. But as with many ICE cars at this level, the appeal of having them as a company car is weakening, with a growing number of electrified alternatives. Why pay 37% BIK tax when it's currently possible to pay zero?

BMW 840d auto 

P11D £74,405

Residual value 36.9%

Depreciation £46,930

Fuel £10,136

Service, maintenance and repair £4,386

Cost per mile 98.2p

Fuel consumption 39.2mpg

CO2 (BIK band) 188g/km (37%) 

BIK 20/40% a month £459/£918

Boot space 440 litres

Engine size/power 2,993cc/320hp


  • Elegant design
  • Smooth performance
  • Diesel fuel cost
  • High BIK tax
  • Not forward-looking enough