2020 BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupe Review by Larry Nutson
2020 BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupe
Sport with a dose of Practicality
By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Four-door “coupes” have been trending for a number of years in the automotive design world. A coupé or coupe historically has only two-doors. However, over time the term has evolved.
Way back in the early 1940s Chevrolet offered a 2-door with sloping rear roof called an Aerosedan. Over the years traditional notch-back 2-door and 4-door models that were also offered with sloping roof lines had the added descriptor of fastback, as in 4-door fastback. Today we often hear the term sportback.
Be that as it may! Today we also see a further difference with some 4-door coupes having a large opening rear hatch hinged at the top of the rear backlight.
BMW’s luxurious 8-series Gran Coupe is very stylish. It’s sleek, low to the ground, and features a coupe roofline with a traditional trunk. First introduced in 2012 as the 6-Series Gran Coupe, for 2020 we now have the first 8-Series Gran Coupe. Rear-wheel drive 840i, all-wheel drive 840i xDrive and M850i xDrive models are offered.
The 2020 Gran Coupe is built on the same platform as the 8-Series 2-door coupe and convertible. But, for more rear seat room as well as increased (or perhaps acceptable) rear headroom the 2020 Gran Coupe is built on a longer wheelbase which results in it being longer by 9.1 inches. Plus it’s also wider and taller.
Officially BMW's 8-Series Gran Coupe is a 5-seater with five seat belts. There is a full length, extended center console that intersects with the rear seat bottom. Because of this not many would want the rear middle seat. Perhaps a young child in a booster seat or a teen might be okay sitting there.
Both 840i models are powered by a 335-hp turbocharged 3.0-L 6-cylinder. The M850i gets a 523-hp twin-turbo 4.4-L V8. An eight-speed automatic with sport and manual shift modes as well as shift paddles and launch control is used on all three 2020 Gran Coupe models.
The rear-wheel drive 840i Gran Coupe can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. The 840i xDrive, with better traction, can reach 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. The M850i model goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. All three 2020 Gran Coupe models feature an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph when equipped with all-season tires and 155 mph when equipped with performance tires.
I had a week’s time with the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe. Yes, it’s a head turner. Very sleek, very luxurious, and very fun to drive, the M850i was begging me for a long road trip. Or better yet, a race circuit. That wasn’t in the cards. I was relegated to daily use around the area of my Chicago home with a couple highway runs thrown in for some higher speed experiences.
The 2020 Gran Coupe V-8 has a flap-controlled sport exhaust system that’s matched to the driving modes. From time to time I turned some heads with a burst of Gran Coupe acceleration accompanied by a loud exhaust note.
Your eyes will pop at the price. Base price is $108,900 for the M850i xDrive Gran Coupe plus a $995 destination charge. With options, the bottom line for my 2020 Gran Coupe driver hit $121,695.
Prices start at $84,900 for the 2020 840i Gran Coupe and $87,800 for the 840i xDrive Gran Coupe.
All important is the interior. That’s where we spend our time. The 2020 Gran Coupe is quite luxurious. Front sport seats covered in trendy blue and black Merino leather, Nappa leather dashboard and door trim, Anthracite headliner, optional Glass Controls (check out the shift lever), optional 1400 Watt 6-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, ambient lighting, power rear window and rear side-window sunshades, soft close doors, heated front armrests as well as steering wheel all make for a refined driving experience.
Go to www.bmwusa.com for more on the 2020 8-Series Gran Coupe. Details on standard and optional equipment including the latest in driver assistance systems and connectivity are readily available.
About 10 years ago my wife had a 2-door 3-Series coupe. It was just the two of us, so it proved very comfortable and adequate. But there were the occasional times we had another passenger and we needed the rear seat which is not all that easy to use. Granted there’s a size difference to the 8-Series, but with that experience I can see a real reason to opt for the Gran Coupe over the 2-door Coupe in the 8-Series.
The crisp handling is right up my alley. The power from either of the 2020 Gran Coupe engines is plentiful. I’d be fine with the 335-hp in the 840i xDrive. I would choose the optional 19-inch wheel and tire setup and then mount some winter tires when the snow starts to fly. Although the Gran Coupe rear headroom is tight, the two main rear seats are very comfy.
Sports car performance, lots of luxury, enticing looks plus a dose of practicality all from this top of the line BMW make it an interesting consideration for some.
Coming back to the coupé. The term coupé comes from the French translation of "cut".
This body style originated from the berline horse-drawn carriage. In the 18th century, the coupé version of the berline was introduced which was a shortened ("cut") version with no rear-facing seat. Normally, a coupé had a fixed glass window in the front of the passenger compartment. The coupé was considered an ideal vehicle for women to use to go shopping or to make social visits.
© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
What Other Auto Sites Are Saying About The 2020 BMW M850i Gran Coupe
- Edmunds: While the BMW 8 Series coupe and convertible's sharp styling and scintillating performance certainly appeal to the right side of your brain, the Gran Coupe adds practicality to satisfy the left side. Admittedly, we fully expected that going into the drive. What we didn't expect was how strong and smooth the base six-cylinder engine is. For most drivers, that's our recommendation
- Autoblog: The abhorrently named "four-door coupe" phenomenon has been a thing now for some time, but sleek sedans haven't always been the ultimate performance solution. Take the Mercedes-Benz CLS, Audi A7, which apart from their high-dollar, high-powered performance variants, fall on the cushy side of things. The new 2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is different. It fully inherits the dynamic talents of the traditional BMW 840i Coupe, but caters to those unsatisfied by its minuscule rear seats and the inherent practical limits of any two-door car.
- KBB.com: Though large and luxurious, the new 2019 BMW 8 Series coupe reflects a return of the brand's core values that put the driver, not passengers or cargo capacity, at the forefront.