The BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is nowhere near suitable for Singapore roads. In fact, just like a gargantuan SUV, it is totally wrong.
It is too long and too wide to be comfortably manoeuvred in small carparks. And it cannot fulfil its purpose as a mile muncher. Singapore is small, and most of us are working from home.
But to dismiss such a well-executed car based on its suitability for our roads would be to miss the point of this grand tourer. This is a car than can be enjoyed even when you’re sitting in traffic.
BMW didn’t just cut two doors into the 8 Series Coupe before slapping a “Gran Coupe” badge on it. They stretched out the car’s platform to make the Gran Coupe grand.
The BMW 840i Gran Coupe measures 5082mm long and has a 3023mm wheelbase. Those figures are 239mm and 201mm longer compared to the 840i Coupe’s.
The elongated proportions give the Gran Coupe a sizeable road presence, which is further complemented by its handsome design. No oversized or outlandish kidney grilles here – just a resolved front end.
The rest of the body is filled with taut and muscular lines. At the rear, the boot lid tapers to a sharp crease.
The BMW 840i Gran Coupe is certainly good-looking enough to pose next to its closest rival, the shark-nosed Mercedes-Benz CLS450. Both cars have turbocharged 3-litre straight-6 engines, although the Merc utilises an all-wheel-drive layout.
The all-wheel-drive layout isn’t the only major difference between the 8 Series and CLS. It’s also the fact that the latter offers more scope for customisation on the website.
Whether customers actually customise their vehicle is another story Anecdotally, most will choose from ex-stock because they want their car delivered, pronto.
But when a car costs close to half a million, I expect to be able to choose everything from paint colour to wheel and wood trimmings.
Having a list of optional equipment to specify would also be nice. So, the fact that you can do this on the Merc website from the comfort of your home is a plus.
But on the BMW website, there’s really not much you can add/change. You will probably have to take care of those details with your salesperson.
That said, you don’t have to specify anything optional to make the BMW 840i Gran Coupe feel special.
As the range-topping “four-door coupe”, the interior looks and feels luxurious. There are soft touch surfaces aplenty, and your body is cradled by supple seats upholstered in Merino leather.
Glance down at the centre console and you’ll see a gleaming gearshift lever finished with hand-crafted and diamond-cut glass. It looks and feels fantastic. I wish the buttons and other controls surrounding it felt just as substantial.
The latest BMWs come with a long list of advanced features. But more importantly, BMW Operating System 7.0 – which powers the infotainment – remains intuitive to use.
I am not a fan of the system’s gesture controls (that’s what the volume buttons on the steering wheel are for) or voice assistant. But the Parking Assistant could come in handy given the vehicle’s generous size.
The standard Harman Kardon audio system is a treat, making your favourite tunes sound richer and fuller. Don’t let those frameless windows fool you – this cabin is well-insulated.
There’s plenty of lounging room in either of the two well-appointed rear seats. Only occupants taller than 1.8m will have issues with the headroom.
SPEED WITH FINESSE
Although capable of high-speed cruising, the BMW 840i Gran Coupe isn’t just about raw speed or acceleration. What’s really impressive is how the 840i delivers its thrust in such a polished manner.
The turbocharged 3-litre inline-6 produces 335hp (340PS) and 500Nm, with the latter figure arriving at just 1600rpm. The car doesn’t just move off at low speeds – it glides off in a gentle manner.
But demand more power and the BMW 840i Gran Coupe happily obliges, with the straight-6 revving smoothly and progressively to its 6500rpm redline. You’ll want to keep swinging the tachometer needle past 4000rpm, too, since that’s when the engine sings its throaty tune.
Zero to 100km/h flashes past in 5.2 seconds. But given the cocoon-like environment, you probably won’t notice. The feeling of speed has been replaced by the sensation of refinement. You could be cruising at 90km/h, but it’s going to feel like 40km/h.
Adding to the feeling of stability is the standard Integral Active Steering, which is BMW-speak for rear-wheel-steering.
At low speeds, the rear wheels are turned in the opposite direction of the front ones, thereby reducing the turning radius. When travelling at higher speeds, the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the front wheels, making the car feel more stable.
The adaptive cruise control deserves a special mention here, for it feels like it can predict other drivers’ intentions. When another vehicle filters into your lane, the system slows the car down without jarring you.
CAN THE BMW 840i GRAN COUPE DANCE?
Thanks to Integral Active Steer, the 840i makes manoeuvring through tight carparks a breeze – despite being over five metres long and having a wheelbase longer than three metres.
And because the 840i is rear-wheel-drive, it feels agile through corners. Its low centre of gravity, wide tracks and excellent brakes certainly help in this regard.
But given its silky character, the Gran Coupe is not a car for attacking winding roads with gusto.
Take less aggressive lines and apply gentle inputs, and the grand tourer rewards the driver by gliding from one corner to the next. After all, in a Gran Coupe, you should not feel pressed for time.
My preferred drivetrain setting was Adaptive, with the 8-speed automatic gearbox set to “S” mode.
The BMW 840i Gran Coupe then does its best to adapt to various road surfaces without being too pillowy, while the gearbox held onto each ratio a bit longer, allowing for higher revs before shifting up.
The BMW 840i Gran Coupe is a sublime blend of luxury, performance, space and refinement. It also has a sense of occasion. Nothing in the Bavarian carmaker’s line-up ticks so many boxes at the same time.
The only thing it needs, really, is a wider variety of customisation options, so you can tick even more boxes and spec the model to your liking.
BMW 840i Gran Coupe 3.0 (A)
ENGINE 2998cc, 24-valves, inline-6, turbocharged
MAX POWER 335hp (250kW, 340PS) at 5000-6500rpm
MAX TORQUE 500Nm at 1600-4500rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 186.1hp per tonne
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 5.2 seconds
TOP SPEED 250km/h
CONSUMPTION 12.7km/litre (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE $484,888 (after $10k VES surcharge)
AGENT Performance Motors
Click here for our BMW 850i review
We did a road trip through Romania in a BMW 850i
Click here for our Mercedes-Benz CLS450 and CLS53 AMG review or here for our CLS350 review
Or check out our Audi A7 review here