After 20 long years, the BMW 8-Series is finally back. We’ve heard a seemingly endless amount of rumors before BMW confirmed it back in May of last year. Then just two months ago, we got to drive a pre-production prototype model. Now, here it is, in all its wonderful grand touring glory.
The 8-Series you see here is the M850i xDrive, the only trim available at launch. But unlike the V12-powered 850i of old, this car gets a revamped version of the company’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, complete with new intake ports, larger turbochargers, and a redesigned air intake. Though it might have fewer cylinders, it has a whole lot more power—523 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque, to be exact. It’s able to get the car from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
Power is sent to BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive via an improved eight-speed transmission, though the system sends power to the rear wheels only unless the computer detects slip. BMW says this is “especially noticeable” in Sport and Sport+ modes. It’s controlled with steering wheel-mounted paddles and an beautiful-looking gear selector. The transmission is GPS-aided for predicting gear changes, not unlike the unit in its upmarket sibling, the Rolls-Royce Wraith.
Behind the 20-inch alloy wheels, you’ll find a double-wishbone suspension setup up front, and a five-link setup out back. There’s also rear-wheel steering to help pilot the car through tight turns and maintain stability at high speeds, as well as standard active suspension and variable-ratio steering. Electric motors on the sway bars apply torque to either end to counter roll and make the ride as flat as possible. If you’re curious how that technical wizardry works, here’s a good explainer.
If you’re looking for more tech, well, you’re in luck, because the 2019 8-Series has a whole lot of it. In addition to all of the driving-focused stuff above, there’s a fully digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, haptic feedback buttons, LED laser headlights, and an optional 1375-watt Bowers & Wilkins sounds system. The car is equipped with NFC (near field communications), which means you can use an NFC-equipped phone to lock, unlock, and start it, rather than a conventional key. As with any new high-end luxury car, there are a host of collision detection features and driving assistance systems. There’s even a system that will tell you to correct your driving line if it determines you’re not on the right path. From the release:
…to optimize directional stability when braking heavily on road surfaces with varying
grip levels under the right and left-hand wheels, a steering impulse can be transmitted to inform the driver of the necessity to adjust their line. With carefully judged steering inputs on the rear axle, it is possible to counteract a tendency to oversteer or understeer.
In order to keep the weight down, the roof, doors, hood, front subframe assembly, and firewall of the 2019 8-Series are all made of aluminum. Bracing for the cabin is made from magnesium, and the driveshaft tunnel is carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The roof can also be optioned in carbon. According to the release, the M850i xDrive has a curb weight of 4478 pounds.
BMW has yet to announce delivery date estimates, though we suspect it should arrive in dealerships by the end of the year, if not early next year. As for pricing, well, a similarly equipped Mercedes-Benz S560 4Matic Coupe starts at $124,500, which should give you a good guess to as what BMW will be asking.