BMW’s 8 Series has a hint of Monaro about it. Picture: Supplied.
BMW’s 8 Series has a hint of Monaro about it. Picture: Supplied.

BMW’s 8 Series has the grunt to match Monaro-like looks

BMW's new 8 Series Coupe is much more than a Munich Monaro. The two have a lot in common. They're both big two-doored four-seaters that aim to please the eye, built using a lot of high-power hardware previously seen in their makers' large sedan models.

What makes the BMW more special is that it wears a sheet metal suit that's been specially tailored for it, nose to tail. And its lushly decorated interior isn't off the peg either. Holden's comeback coupe of 2001 had to use as many Commodore hand-me-downs as possible, from front guards to instrument panel.

The new BMW 8 Series is a mix of brains and brawn. Pic: Supplied.
The new BMW 8 Series is a mix of brains and brawn. Pic: Supplied.

Made-to-measure is more costly, and the 8 Series will wear a very hefty price tag when it arrives in Australia in about March next year. Hints dropped by high-ranking executives point to it being more than $300,000. Maybe much more …

While BMW will produce an 840d with six-cylinder diesel engine, only the more powerful petrol-burning V8-powered M850i is certain to be sold here. Later, the 8 Series family will grow to include convertible and four-door Gran Coupe body styles. Super-fast M8 versions of all three are also planned. These will appear at intervals through 2019, and all are sure to be even more costly than the Coupe.

Racier variants will follow after the first car arrives next year. Picture: Supplied.
Racier variants will follow after the first car arrives next year. Picture: Supplied.

Style-wise, the M850i - the only variant BMW brought to the international launch of the 8 Series in Portugal - has the looks to match its price tag. It's muscular, yet elegant, with great proportions and presence. BMW hasn't completely forgotten how to design cars that are classic beauties.

And it drives the way its looks make you think it should.

The engine of the M850i is an updated version of BMW's 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8. The changes up max power to 390kW. The transmission is an eight-speed auto, and BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system is standard.

The interior is suitably luxurious. Picture: Supplied.
The interior is suitably luxurious. Picture: Supplied.

This is a stonking good drivetrain. The M850i is an effortless, quiet and smooth cruiser on public roads, but let off the leash at a circuit it's angry, loud and impressively quick. The excellent all-wheel-drive system helps the engine punch the Coupe out of bends with real authority, and a nicely bassy blare from its big exhaust pipes.

With its standard and well set up adaptive shock absorbers, the 8 Series rides comfortably. Yet despite its almost two-tonne weight, the BMW can also adeptly carve racetrack curves. It's not a snappily agile car, but there's a fluid grace to the way the M850i handles changes of direction and pace.

The 8 Series handles changes of direction at pace. Picture: Supplied.
The 8 Series handles changes of direction at pace. Picture: Supplied.

BMW also equips the 8 Series with all its latest generation driver assist and infotainment technology, making it a pleasantly hi-tech environment in which to spend time when the road is ahead is either dull or congested.

BMW's aim with the 8 Series was to create an exciting new addition to its line-up, something genuinely sporty yet lavishly luxurious. And they've pretty much bulls-eyed it …

LEATHER WHERE?

"Merino" is the name chosen by BMW for the flawless leather used to trim the 8 Series Coupe's seats, dash and more. So it's from sheep, right? Nope, it's actually cow leather, at least according to a BMW M Division product management exec called Angelo Marino.

 

BMW M850i xDrive Coupe

 

PRICE $300,000 plus (est)

SAFETY Not yet rated

ENGINE 4.4-litre V8 twin turbo; 390kW/750Nm

TRANSMISSION 8-speed auto; AWD

THIRST 9.8L/100km (European Combined Cycle)


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