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BMW's most luxurious coupe in SA: Stunning new 8 Series arrives locally

2019-03-28 12:22
bmw 8 series

Image: BMW SA/ Rob Till

The new BMW 8 Series Coupe adds a brand new chapter to the Bavarian premium automaker's long history of sensational sports cars – and gets its current model offensive in the luxury segment off to a particularly dynamic start.

The 8 Series Coupe boasts outstanding performance, emotion-stirring design, state-of-the-art luxury and exceptionally advanced equipment features when it comes to display and control technology, driver assistance and connectivity.

READ: Drop-top cruising - BMW's new Z4 Roadster now in SA

The primary development objective for the BMW 8 Series Coupe was thrilling driving dynamics. The body, powertrain and suspension were consistently honed to achieve the supreme agility, precision and poise expected of a top-class sports car.

Its engines are combined with the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system.



The new model came through its baptism of fire in the guise of the BMW M8 GTE at the FIA WEC endurance races and in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) held in North America. 

Heading the model range is the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe which is powered by a newly developed 390kW V8 petrol engine.

Exterior design

The exterior design of the BMW 8 Series Coupe has an expressive surface design. The exterior bodyshell emphasises the dynamic character of the new BMW 8 Series Coupe with greater intensity than on any of the brand’s previous models. The expansive surfaces are structured using pared-down, crisp character lines.

The car’s low-slung design, an elongated silhouette with a slim window graphic and a roofline flowing elegantly into the rear with distinctive “double-bubble” contouring, a long wheelbase and a wide track are the defining elements of the 8 Series Coupe’s proportions. With exterior dimensions of 4.8m long, 1.9m wide and 1.3m tall and a wheelbase of 2.8m, the two-door car adopts an extremely powerful stance on the road.

The sports car’s immense drive power is visualised to stunning effect by the elaborate, jutting design of the front apron, the large air intakes – which assume an even more imposing appearance on the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe and in conjunction with the M Sport package – and the precise contours of the bonnet. The low-down BMW kidney grille is hexagonal in shape, with its elements framed by a single-piece surround.

The LED headlights are the slimmest of any BMW model to date. BMW Laserlight with variable road illumination and Selective Beam is optionally available.

Whilst the surfaces curve inwards on the far side of the front wheels, they flare outwards again in powerful fashion in the vicinity of the rear wheels. This combines with the strikingly tapered glasshouse to create a muscular shoulderline. At the rear, the interplay of horizontal and diagonal lines emphasises the car’s width and low centre of gravity.

The LED taillights add to this effect by extending deep into the flanks.

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Precise details optimise aerodynamics and weight

An almost fully sealed underbody, active air flap control and Air Curtains including Air Breathers help to reduce the aerodynamic drag of the new 8 Series Coupe’s streamlined body. Narrow exterior mirror bases also help smooth the airflow.

On the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe, an additional front spoiler further minimises lift at the front axle at high speeds. The roof of the new 8 Series Coupe takes a leaf from the book of traditional sports car design by featuring a central cutout that recalls the 'double-bubble' styling of classic racing cars.

This distinctive contouring also graces the optional carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof, which is available for the first time on a series-production model from the core BMW brand and lowers the car’s centre of gravity even further. The air intake bars, exterior mirror caps, rear spoiler and rear diffuser of the optional Carbon package are likewise all made from CFRP.

Interior

The modern and minimalistic exterior design language is continued inside the new BMW 8 Series Coupe, creating a relaxing, luxurious ambience. All lines point lengthways, and all control elements are clearly arranged. 

The newly developed sports seats are upholstered as standard in Vernasca leather. The fulled leather trim for the door shoulders and instrument panel is also standard. Thanks to the low seating position of both rear seats, it has been possible to design the head restraints as an integral part of the backrests. The rear backrest can be split 50: 50 as standard and folded down to increase the capacity of the 420-litre luggage compartment.

The range includes the BMW Display Key, telephony with wireless charging, climate seats, the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, as well as glass applications for selected controls. Moreover, there is a choice of model-specific options from BMW Individual.

bmw 8 series

                                                              Image: BMW SA / Rob Till

New V8 engine with incredible power delivery and acoustics.

A new V8 power unit is making its debut in the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe. The 4.4-litre engine with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology serves up an intoxicating blend of prodigious power delivery and an equally impressive soundtrack, which is further enhanced by the flap-controlled sports exhaust system.

The turbochargers located within the V-shaped space between the cylinder banks, the direct petrol injection system, the thermal shielding, the cooling circulation system, as well as the ignition and engine electronics are just some of the features that have been extensively redeveloped, along with the crankcase.

To ensure both supreme performance characteristics and robustness, the new eight-cylinder engine was subject to an exhaustive programme of testing encompassing all potential load situations – from fatigue tests at idle speed to highly dynamic calibration drives on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit. Emissions performance has been optimised by the inclusion of a gasoline particulate filter and meets the Euro 6d-TEMP standard.

Thanks to a 50kW increase in output with no impact on weight compared to the engine it replaces, the new V8 is now able to generate 390kW, which is on tap between 5500 and 6000rpm. Maximum torque of 750Nm is available over a wide rev range from 1800 to 4600rpm for prolonged forward thrust. The new BMW M850i xDrive Coupe accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds.

The engine transfers power to a new, improved version of the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission, whose increased ratio spread, new transmission management and optimised hydraulic control produce sportier gear shifts while also enhancing its efficiency and smoothness. Shift paddles on the steering wheel are included as standard for manual gear selection.

The BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system likewise operates more efficiently than ever before. With its rapid, precise and fully variable distribution of torque between the front and rear wheels, it maximises traction and handling stability even in highly dynamic driving situations.

The locking effect generated by an electric motor limits speed compensation between the inside and outside rear wheel when cornering, making it possible to power out of bends with eye-catching dynamic verve.

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                                                                 Image: BMW SA / Rob Till

Suspension

The standard equipment for the new BMW 8 Series Coupe includes the Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers. This allows the action of the springs and dampers to be regulated with great precision so that the driver receives no more than the necessary feedback on the road surface.

Integral Active Steering is also standard; it reduces the turning circle when manoeuvring, increases agility and makes changing lanes or taking corners at high speeds even more effortless. The optional active roll stabilisation feature for the new BMW M850i xDrive Coupe endows the car with even sportier handling characteristics, as it enables particularly swift and accurate compensation of body roll during high-speed driving manoeuvres, thus improving agility and handling stability both when entering and exiting corners.

The system has the additional effect of increasing comfort when driving in a straight line, by actively countering the vibrations triggered by unevenness on one side of the road with its electronic servomotors.

BMW M Performance

The standard specification for the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe also includes exceptionally powerful M Sport brakes along with 20-inch M light-alloy wheels with high-performance tyres. This BMW M Performance model is also instantly recognisable by its exclusive exterior appointments in Cerium Grey, an M rear spoiler and illuminated door sills bearing the model name.

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                                                                     Image: BMW SA / Rob Till

Wide choice of advanced driver assistance systems.

Numerous cutting-edge driver assistance systems are available to boost the comfort and safety of the new BMW 8 Series Coupe, in particular. The line-up includes Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, the Steering and lane control assistant, the Lane Change Warning and Lane Departure Warning systems, the Lane Keeping Assistant with side collision protection and evasion aid, BMW Night Vision, as well as the Crossing traffic warning, Priority warning and Wrong-way warning systems.

Besides steering, the Parking Assistant takes over the job of controlling the accelerator and brakes. The system also comprises the Reversing Assistant, which makes it possible to reverse easily for a distance of up to 80 metres by steering the vehicle back along the exact path it recently drove forwards

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