Making its comeback since its last appearance at the end of the last millennium, the all-new BMW 8-series returns to offer the performance of a Porsche 911, with the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, according to those within the BMW Group.
Launched at the Le Mans 24 Hours along with the introduction of the M8 GTE race car, the all-new 8-series will be initially offered in two variants – the M850i xDrive with 530 hp and 750 Nm from a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 with enlarged twin scrolled turbochargers and a 840d xDrive model making 320 hp and 680 Nm from a 3.0-litre diesel twin-turbo in-line six engine.
Both engines are paired to BMW’s 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission with Launch Control and revised gear ratios. In the V8 model, 0 to 100 km/h is obliterated in just 3.7 seconds while the in-line six diesel model takes completes the same task in under five seconds.
As both their names denote, the M850i xDrive and 840d xDrive are equipped with intelligent, rear-biased all-wheel drive systems. As standard, all the power is sent to the rear wheels. When taking corners at speed, for example, optimal drive force is transferred to the rear wheels to help the car turn into the bend with supreme accuracy.
The Integral Active Steering is fitted as standard to reduce the turning circle when manoeuvring. It becomes more direct as speeds build up but allows the driver to manoeuvre at low speeds with minimal steering wheel movement.
On the outside, the new 8-series gets the slimmest LED headlamps of any BMW model to date. The optional BMW Laserlight with Selective Beam has a high beam range of around 600 metres.
Underneath all that grandeur is an underbody that’s almost fully sealed with active air flaps and air curtains to help reduce drag. Also underneath are the double wishbone front and five-link rear axle suspension, active M suspension with variable damper control and a limited slip differential.
Brakes are 395 mm in size, tucked behind 20-inch wheels wrapped in bespoke Bridgestone tyres. The 840d on the other hand sits on an 18-inch set with 19- and 20-inch options.
Inside, a head-up display comes as standard, along with the BMW Live Cockpit Professional through a 12.3-inch high-resolution instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen display.
Driver assistance systems include the Personal Co-Pilot system that process camera images as well as data gathered by ultrasonic and radar sensors to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking, Active Park Distance Control and the optional Parking Assistant.
Prices for the 249 km/h (electronically-limited) sportscar starts from £76,270 (approx. RM 404k) for the 840d to £100,045 (approx. RM 530k) for the M850i.