BMW’s flagship luxury coupe returns after a 20-year hiatus

BMW's flagship luxury coupe returns after a 20-year hiatus

After years of teasing and many rumors — but most of all, a 20-year hiatus — BMW’s all-new and hotly anticipated second-generation 8-Series is here. At launch, it will be available in M850i xDrive form with a twin-turbocharged V8, an eight-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive, for the price of $111,900, plus the $995 “Destination and Handling” fee.

Just as we anticipated, the design hasn’t changed much from the near-production-ready BMW Concept 8-Series that debuted at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2017 — and that’s a good thing. At first glance, one could even argue it looks like a big 6-Series. But nonetheless, we’re a fan of big, fancy, luxury German coupes, which are often loaded with tech and performance, and are an absolute joy behind the wheel. This latest 8-Series is no different.

The new 8-Series coupe certainly takes inspiration from the original E31 model’s wedge design, and will launch initially as a coupe, with a convertible and four-door Gran Coupe arriving later on. As BMW’s newest model, it continues the theme of being a large grand tourer, with competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and the Lexus LC 500 right in its sights.

The last time BMW produced an 8-Series was the first E31 generation from 1989 to 1999, a car that was very much ahead of its time, and was one of many firsts. It was also an incredible technological marvel for its era. For instance, it was the first car to have a drive-by-wire electronically controlled throttle, for both its V12 and V8 engines.

It was the first car to use a CAN bus computer network in a vehicle, allowing for various control modules to enabling all of the 8-Series’ convenience features. It was also the first to feature electronic traction and stability control, and windows that automatically lowered when opening the doors, and automatically rolled up above 140 mph. That means technology is a huge highlight for the latest and greatest 8-Series and BMW’s engineers.

For example, engineers extensively used carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs), as a part of BMW’s EfficientLightweight initiative, to ensure the latest 8-Series remains relatively light, for better performance and fuel economy. There are active aero vents underneath the suave sheet metal that improve dynamics at speed. The new 8-Series also gains a full LED matrix headlight setup with BMW’s LaserLight technology.

On the inside, the 8-Series showcases BMW’s newest in-car technology, with a standard heads-up display, the latest rendition of BMW Connected digital services that can work in tandem with Apple iPhones and Android smartphones, Google Home, Alexa-compatible devices, and more. The 8-Series debuts BMW’s newest Digital Key, which utilizes Near Field Communication (or NFC), replacing the conventional car key. That gives drivers the chance to control the car’s locks and ignition with a smartphone, as long as it’s paired and setup to work with BMW’s Connected App. And thanks to wireless connectivity, the 8-Series will automatically stay up-to-date with the latest software.

For driver aids, the 8-Series comes standard with it all, thanks to the Driving Assistant Professional suite. It incorporates all the bells and whistles you’d expect in terms of active and passive safety, including Lane Keeping Assistant with Active Side Collision Protection, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Change Warning, and even Crossing Traffic Warning with automatic braking.

The latest 8-Series launches initially with a 4.4-liter TwinPower turbocharged V8, complete with direct injection, VALVETRONIC variable valve control and, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing. It is based on the same 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 we’ve come accustomed to in the V8-powered 5-Series, 6-Series, and 7-Series cars, and can also be found on the X5 and X6 crossover SAVs. But it’s been significantly updated by BMW’s in-house tuning firm, BMW M Performance, for better performance, refinement, and smoother power delivery. Both the engine management and ignition system were revised to bolster the other various upgrades. The result is 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, serving up a 0-to-60 time of 3.6 seconds and a top run limited to 155 mph.

Engineers also relocated the two twin-scroll turbochargers for improved performance and efficient operation, while the system also features charge air cooling. It’s mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic, powering all four wheels via a rear-wheel-biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Helping to suspend BMW’s newest big coupe is the latest in adaptive and active suspension and steering technology. The 8-Series features a fully independent double-wishbone front suspension setup while the rear comes with a five-way multi-link arrangement while active roll bars work to keep things flat and level on both the pitch and roll axis. Both BMW’s Adaptive M suspension and Integral Active Steering systems are standard. The latter bundles electro-mechnically controlled front-steering with a variable steering ratio system for the rear axle, essentially enabling four-wheel steering. That enables the rear wheels to actively adjust their angle by 2.5 degrees for improved handling and maneuverability for up to speeds of 45 mph.

Altogether, it’s an exciting moment for the makers of the “ultimate driving machine,” particularly since fans of the original 8-Series have long awaited a successor to one of the automaker’s most iconic vehicles. BMW says the new 8-Series will begin to officially hit local showrooms sometime in fall of this year, with pricing details to be announced closer to that time.

Updated on July 9: Added the official starting price of the 2019 BMW M850i xDrive.

Cars

We get up close with the Vision iNext concept to learn about BMW’s future

Through a massive worldwide campaign that visits various major cities around the world, we get our exclusive opportunity to get up close and personal with BMW’s latest Vision iNEXT Concept to learn about automaker’s future plans.
Product Review

With the XT4, Cadillac's tech game goes from frustrating to first class

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is the American luxury brand’s first small SUV, slotting under the XT5. Aimed at younger buyers, the XT4 is intended to be a nurturing product — something to introduce new customers and lead to future Cadillac…
Cars

BMW’s redesigned Z4 gets two turbocharged engines, long list of tech features

The redesigned BMW Z4 will be available in sDrive30i Roadster and M40i Roadster guises when it goes on sale next year. The more powerful M40i will do zero to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, according to BMW.
Product Review

Alfa Romeo delivers the quintessential Italian high-performance SUV

Alfa’s Romeo’s Ferrari-powered sport utility delivers hair-raising straight-line performance, admirable capability in the corners, and head-turning style, but comes up a bit short in a few key areas.
Cars

Nissan will invite Google into its cars’ dashboards starting in 2021

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has joined forces with Google to develop a brand-new infotainment system. Scheduled to launch in 2021, the yet-unnamed software will boast navigation via Google Maps over-the-air software updates.
Cars

End your dependence on fossil fuels with one of these amazing electric cars

Electric cars are getting smarter, safer, and more capable with each passing year. Here are our picks for the best electric cars on the market, whether you're looking for a performance ride or a family-friendly crossover.
Features

Will high-res radar make tomorrow’s cars safer?

Modern cars have sensors designed to make driving safer. The problem? They don’t work well. A combination of radar, lidar, and cameras is a solution, but we aren’t there yet.
Product Review

Aston’s stunning DB11 V8 Volante proves exotic cars aren't just about lap times

With the DB11 Volante, Aston Martin’s marriage of luxury and performance is perhaps at its best, offering hustle that doesn’t feel rushed and refinement with emotion still intact.
Cars

Volkswagen shows us the workaholic side of its modern-day classic van

The Volkswagen I.D. Cargo concept is an electric, connected delivery van based on the I.D. Buzz concept from 2017. It boasts up to 350 miles of range and cool features like solar panels on the roof and a 230-volt outlet for power tools.
Cars

It’s not easy being green: California strips HOV rights from clean-air cars

Changes to California's Clean Air Vehicle decal program are raising the ire of early adopters. The decals let LEV and ZEV drivers travel solo in commuter lanes. More than 200,000 drivers will lose the privilege January 1.
Cars

Exclusive: Faulty radars are compromising Nissan’s emergency braking system

Faulty radar modules are causing the automatic emergency braking system in select 2018 Nissan vehicles to turn off. AEB is designed to alert a driver of proximity to the car ahead, and apply the brakes when the driver can't.
Emerging Tech

These flying cars want to take your commute to new heights

The future is closer than you'd think: Companies around the world are working on flying car models, with many successful tests! Here are all the flying cars and taxis currently in development, and how they work!
Smart Home

Here’s how to pre-order everything Amazon announced this week

Amazon announced new devices available in its Echo, Fire TV, and AmazonBasics lineups. Most of the devices aren't available quite yet but if you head over to Amazon, you can pre-order them.
Cars

Tesla says dash cam feature using car’s built-in cameras is coming soon

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is promising the next version of Autopilot, which is expected imminently, will include a dash cam feature that uses the car's built-in cameras. It's a feature many Tesla drivers have long been asking for.