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MSRP
$84,900
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2020 BMW 8-Series Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.9

The 2020 BMW 8 Series successfully prevails over its hefty curb weight, indulging spirited drivers with brisk acceleration and nimble handling. This is true even with the smaller six-cylinder engine, and it's mostly true even with the larger Gran Coupe body style. Passengers with no regard for high-speed thrills will be pleasantly surprised by its Comfort drive mode, which transforms the 8 Series from a sports car to a grand tourer.

  • "… the drive is absolutely rewarding, with accurate steering, crisp turn-in and outstanding body control from the optional adaptive suspension package bundled with 20-inch wheels." -- Autoblog
  • "The new BMW 8 Series has a formidable blend of power and suppleness, with a priority on the former. It's more potent, faster and more precise than a Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe, but not a track toy like an Audi RS 5. Yet for a big, 2-door grand touring coupe that weighs nearly 4,500 pounds, the 8 Series is surprisingly nimble. Thank the sporty chassis, quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, and one beast of an engine. The big Bimmer's 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 roars, propelling the coupe from 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds or 3.8 seconds for the heavier 8 Series convertible. In our testing on a track, the 8 Series backed up those numbers and quickly shot us into the mid-100-mph territory." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "After all, racy is what this car does best. Despite its heft, the M850i moves with serious chutzpah. BMW's 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 provides more than enough motivation, with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque routed to all four wheels through a super-slick, eight-speed automatic transmission. It's a combination that, according to BMW, will hustle the M850i xDrive to 60 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds." -- CNET (2019)

Acceleration and Power

There are no dogs in the 8 Series' four-engine lineup, and even the base 840i model feels brisk and powerful. The standard eight-speed automatic transmission is another highlight, as it is refined, responsive, and intuitive.

The 840i is the only trim that comes with a six-cylinder. This turbocharged 3.0-liter engine has a 335-horsepower rating. With this power plant, the 8 Series can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds (4.4 seconds for the 840i xDrive). Additionally, its base fuel economy rating of 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway is above average for a luxury sports car.

All other trim levels beyond the 840i come with a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8. This engine has a 523-horsepower rating in the 850i xDrive, and this model can reach 60 mph in as little as 3.5 seconds. The 850i gets 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway.

The M8 has a 600-horsepower rating, and the range-topping M8 Competition cranks out 617 horsepower. These trims get an estimated 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway.

  • "The rear-drive 840i tested here is the least expensive Gran Coupe configuration, but it doesn't feel in any way like a base model. BMW's inline-six feels muscular across its rev range, delivering an effortless low-down surge of thrust yet also is happy to pull hard to 7000 rpm. … This remains one of the sweetest six-cylinder mills extant. The automatic has a knack of being in the right gear pretty much all the time when in both the default Comfort and Sport driving modes. The Sport Plus setting tunes the transmission's programming a bit more aggressively than is needed for such a flexible engine." -- Car and Driver
  • "It may be the least-powerful 8 Series of the bunch, but don't write off the 840i. The straight-six provides strong power, with full torque thrust delivered at just 1,600 rpm. There's more than enough giddy-up-and-go to shoot the 840i Gran Coupe away from other cars at stoplights. The smooth-as-silk eight-speed automatic transmission is more than willing to drop a gear or two should you dig deeper into the throttle, putting the turbo-six in the heart of its powerband, ideal when dashing past slower cars on two-lane country roads." -- CNET (2019)
  • "It was fun to smash this big guy around. Its 553 lb-ft of torque plus all-wheel drive means that the M850i launches good and hard. … The engine keeps pushing and shoving, and the torque moves the 8 Series down the road with authority -- an authority that's not unlike the traditional feel of a Bentley, one where the heft is a good, positive part of the driving experience. All that's just a fancy way of saying strong; the M850i feels strong. The transmission is programmed about as well as I've seen, so much so that I never even had the notion to start pulling the paddles." -- Motor Trend (2019)

Handling and Braking

The 840i comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but for $2,900, you can add the xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The 850i, M8, and M8 Competition are only outfitted with all-wheel-drive. In M models, this system sends most of the power to the rear wheels when the front wheels aren't needed for extra grip.

Although it isn't a track warrior like some rivals, the 8 Series is a nimble car. This is especially true for the convertible and coupe body styles, which are lighter and more compact, but even the heftier Gran Coupe is agile and responsive. Three drive modes are standard: Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport. Some trims also have Sport+ and Track settings.

  • "We're down with Comfort being comfortable, and when your car is called the Gran Coupe, it's not a bad thing to make sure it can waft happily on the highway and otherwise do grand-touring things. … Sport+ tightened things up tidily, and did a solid job of holding car's eight-speed automatic in the power zone. No, you're not going to mistake the 840i for a bona fide back-road attacker, but the sedan held its own through the twisty stuff, never feeling out of sorts when we pushed it. It's a bigger car, and you'll feel that at times when you're hustling, especially on the dicey one-and-a-half-lane stretches we encountered in the countryside. But steering, braking -- you name it -- when you want to get after it and you have everything set up the right way, the 840i will inspire you to brake later, to turn in more aggressively." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The M850i makes quick work of corners, with solid communication delivered through both the steering and chassis. Yes, BMW's finally finding its steering mojo again. The 8's Sport and Sport Plus driving modes not only bringing more heft to the action of the wheel, but giving you a better sense of what's actually happening at tire level, too. The M850i comes standard with rear-wheel steering, which really helps with its overall agility." -- CNET (2019)
  • "Despite the 8 Series' impressive performance, comfort remains praiseworthy. The ride is stiffer than that of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe or Lexus LC 500 but still compliant enough to soak up rough pavement, contributing to the BMW's pleasing blend of luxury and sport." -- Edmunds (2019)
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2020 BMW 8-Series

MSRP: $84,900 - $155,500

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