The last time that BMW made an 8 Series coupe, Bill Clinton was president of the United States, the Green Bay Packers were reigning Super Bowl champions, and Steve Urkel was one of the biggest names in television. And now, for the first time in 20 years, BMW is bringing back the 8 Series nameplate.
What is it?
The 2019 BMW 8 Series is a two-door, four-seater coupe that will sit near the top of BMW's lineup. If you're at all familiar with BMW's naming scheme, you know that the higher the numbers go, the more luxury you get. Cars like the 1 Series and 3 Series are more entry-level, while the 5 and 7 Series get more power and more accoutrements. BMW will introduce the 8 Series in just one trim level to start: the M850i xDrive. With a length of 191.2 inches and a wheelbase of 111.1 inches, the 8 Series is about the same size as BMW's 6 Series coupe that was last produced for the 2017 model year.
What's under the hood?
While more powertrains are likely to be announced in the near future, for now, we only get one. The M850i version of the 8 Series Coupe will be powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. It's a revised version of the one that you get in the current 5 and 7 Series and produces a stout 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system, both of which BMW says have been tuned for sportier performance.
There is a lot of lightweight material used in the construction of the 8 Series Coupe, including aluminum for the doors and hood, magnesium for pieces of the passenger compartment, and carbon fiber for the transmission tunnel and optional carbon-fiber roof. That doesn't stop the M850i from being heavy, though. This two-door coupe weighs in at 4,478 pounds. For some context, that's 100 pounds more than the current M5 — a hefty two-door, no doubt. With the twin-turbo V8 and all-wheel drive, BMW claims that the new 8 Series is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and is limited to a top speed of 155 miles per hour.
What comes standard on the M850i?
Since the M850i xDrive theoretically sits near the top of BMW's lineup, it comes packed with all sorts of standard equipment. Underneath, it gets an adaptive suspension with electronically controlled dampers, active rear-wheel steering and 20-inch alloy wheels. It also comes standard with full LED headlights, a head-up display, premium leather upholstery, a 50/50-split folding rear seat, an 11-speaker sound system, a 12.3-inch center console display screen, wireless smartphone charging, forward collision warning with pedestrian sensors, front and rear parking sensors, parallel parking assist, and a 360-degree parking camera. It comes with four drive modes: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. We don't have a full list of available options yet, but we do know that some of the items will include heated and ventilated seats, adaptive cruise control, steering assist and lane departure mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and braking, BMW night vision, and two available 16-speaker sound systems (one from Harman Kardon and the other from Bowers & Wilkins).
What's it like on the inside?
We haven't had a chance to sit inside the all-new 8 Series coupe yet, but there are a couple of things we can glean from the photos. The interior design isn't just a copy of what you'll find in the 5 or 7 Series. The gauges, air vents and driver-canted center stack are all special to the 8 Series. Of course, you still get BMW's iDrive system, which controls the infotainment through a large knob on the center console. The system is one of our favorites because it's easy to use and precise and it doesn't require taking your eyes off the road for long periods of time. We can also expect crisp, easily legible center console and driver displays. An improved head-up display with bigger and crisper graphics is also standard.
How much does the M850i cost?
According to BMW, pricing will be released closer to the on-sale date in fall of 2018. BMW's 2017 6 Series coupe started at around $78,000. With options, you could easily spec one out to well above $100,000. So naturally, we expect the 8 Series coupe to be priced a bit higher. For more details and a full review of the 2019 BMW 8 Series Coupe, be sure to stay tuned to Edmunds.