Long-term review: BMW 8 Series

Russell Campbell
February 08, 2019

When we first got our hands on the newest BMW 8 Series, we called it ‘a superbly fast and surprisingly comfortable sports car’. But does that statement still ring true when living with it? Well, there was only one way to find out – say ‘hello’ to carwow’s new BMW 840d xDrive long-term test car.

This might be the cheapest BMW 8 Series you can buy, but with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel engine and an on-the-road price of £85,465, it’s definitely not basic.

Our car comes with a number of options, the most noticeable being the M Sport Technic Package, which, for £2,500, adds a sporty body kit, bigger brakes and a tarted up interior that makes this diesel 8 Series look exactly like the 530hp, £100,000 petrol model.

Next on the list was the Technology Package (£2,800). Along with auto-park, it adds a suite of autonomous driving aids that essentially mean the 8 Series can drive itself on the motorway and in slow-moving queues of traffic – ideal in a car that’s already so good at taking the strain out of long journeys.

While it’s hard to make a case for the cool-looking carbon-fibre roof (£2,650) or chintzy glass interior trims (£575), the £2,800 Visibility Package is easier to justify. It adds laser headlamps that could teach a pair of WWII searchlights a thing or two about illumination – we’re yet to find a road long enough to show off their full potential.

And you’ll want to have a good view of roads in the 8 Series because it’s quick. Very quick. With 320hp and 680Nm of torque, the near-two-ton BMW can launch itself from 0-60mph in just 4.6 seconds and powerslide at will, despite being four-wheel drive. And if that’s not quick enough for you, in three months’ time we’ll swap it for the BMW 850i petrol to see how the two cars compare.

For now, though, let’s focus on the 840d and its clever tech. Its auto-park system, for one, is smartest we’ve yet encountered – squeezing the BMW into tight spaces almost as quickly a human (well, a Watson) can manage.

Just like the new BMW 3 Series, our 8 Series also comes with BMW’s clever Reversing Assistant. At speeds of up to 22mph it logs your steering-wheel movements and, if you end up in a Mexican standoff with a driver coming the other way, can reverse the car back up the road autonomously for up to 50m. It’s ideal if you dread heading backwards up tight city streets and around corners, in fact, it can even roll back up a slalom… should you ever need to.

All of which means we confidently stand by our original assertion that the 8 Series is ‘a superbly fast and surprisingly comfortable sports car’. But it’s not out the woods just yet – we have a plan in mind that’ll test its grand touring credentials to the absolute limit. More on that in the next update.