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2021 BMW 8-Series Review

The 2021 BMW 8 Series has powerful engine choices, an upscale interior, and lots of cargo space, but it's relegated to the middle of the luxury sports car class because some rivals have better handling and higher predicted reliability ratings.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful lineup of engines
  • Refined cabin
  • Long list of features
  • Large trunk
  • Cramped rear seats in coupe and convertible models
  • So-so steering feedback

New for 2021

  • Lane departure warning now standard
  • M8 coupe and convertible models discontinued
  • Night vision detection no longer available

Rankings & Research

The 2021 BMW 8-Series's #8 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Sports Cars category. Currently the BMW 8-Series has a score of 8.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 17 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 8.8
Interior: 7.3
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the BMW 8 Series a Good Car?

Nearly all luxury sports cars are good, including the BMW 8 Series. Its midpack ranking is due more to the strength of its competition than any major faults. You'll get thrilling acceleration from any of its three engine options, along with decent fuel economy from the base mill. This grand tourer doesn't have the track-carving expertise of say, the Porsche 911, but it's still enjoyably athletic.

The 8 Series has a massive list of standard and optional features, a pretty intuitive infotainment system, and a classy interior. BMW offers this vehicle as a four-door Gran Coupe, a two-door coupe, and a convertible. While the Gran Coupe has plenty of rear legroom, the second row is cramped in the two latter models. Across the lineup, cargo space is great for the class.

Why You Can Trust Us: 17 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 17 BMW 8 Series reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 8 Series is the right new car for you.

This 2021 8 Series review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the BMW 8 Series?

If you're looking for a range-topping sports car that also has a serviceable second row and a decent-sized trunk, the BMW 8 Series is one of the few cars on a very short list. It offers a lot of flexibility, and it’s easy to find a model that will suit your needs. You can stick with a base model for about $85,000 and still get potent performance and plenty of amenities. You can also spend tens of thousands of dollars more for a higher-performance version and get sub-four-second zero-to-60 mph times.

Find a 2021 BMW 8 Series for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 BMW 8 Series: What’s the Difference?

For 2021, BMW makes lane departure warning standard in the 8 Series and drops the night vision with pedestrian detection option. Additionally, the M8 coupe and convertible versions are not available for this model year.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 8 Series »

Here are the key changes for the BMW 8 Series since its inception:

  • 2019: all-new model
  • 2020: 840i named base trim; six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive became standard; Gran Coupe body style and high-performance M8 models introduced
  • 2021: lane departure warning now standard; M8 coupe and convertible models discontinued; night vision with pedestrian detection no longer available

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2019 8 Series and 2020 8 Series reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the BMW 8 Series Cost?

The 2021 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe starts at $85,000. Coupe models start at $88,000, and a convertible model retails for $97,400. Those prices are for the 840i trim, which features a turbocharged six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive. Getting all-wheel drive adds $2,900 to the price.

The M850i xDrive comes with a twin-turbocharged V8 engine and all-wheel drive. Prices by body style include $108,900 for the Gran Coupe, $111,900 for the coupe, and $121,400 for the convertible. The high-performance M8, only offered as a Gran Coupe, retails for $130,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local BMW dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our BMW deals page.

BMW 8 Series Versus the Competition

BMW 8 Series vs. Mercedes-Benz GT

The BMW 8 Series and Mercedes-AMG GT sit close to each other in our luxury sports car rankings, and both are good choices. The 8 Series’ price ranges from about $85,000 to $143,000, and its engine puts out 335 to 617 horsepower. Meanwhile, the GT starts at around $100,000 – it can cost nearly $200,000 – while making between 429 and 630 horsepower. Both of these cars are available as coupe, convertible, or spacious four-door models. They have similarly quick acceleration, well-balanced ride and handling, and good technological offerings. Picking between them depends on personal preference and how much room you have in your budget.

Compare the 8 Series and GT »

BMW 8 Series vs. Porsche Panamera

The Porsche Panamera ranks highly in the super luxury car class, mainly because of its incredibly well-rounded performance, thrilling handling, and great acceleration. This Porsche’s horsepower ranges from 330 to 677, and its starting price is just a few thousand dollars more than the BMW. In contrast to the coupe, convertible, and sedan body styles of the 8 Series, the Panamera is only available as a hatchback. That means plenty of cargo space, as well as a roomy cabin. If you prioritize utility and can pay a higher sticker price, the Panamera is well worth consideration.

Compare the 8 Series and Panamera »

Compare the 8 Series, GT, and Panamera »

8 Series Performance: Large and In Charge

8 Series Engine

The 2021 BMW 8 Series has a menu of engine options that range from simply pleasing to outright thrilling. The standard fare is a turbocharged six-cylinder, and it can get you from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds. Hit the gas, and you take off effortlessly, aided by an eight-speed automatic transmission that operates with poise and refinement.

Your other choice is a twin-turbocharged V8 that turns the 8 Series into a different beast. The exhaust note is more aggressive, and acceleration is forceful. This power plant puts out 523 horsepower in the M850i trim. The high-performance M8 uses a retuned version of the engine to produce 600 or 617 horsepower.

BMW 8 Series Powertrain/Performance Options:
  • Base engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged six-cylinder with 335 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque; starts at $85,000 (standard in 840i and 840i xDrive)
  • Available engines:
    • 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque; starts at $108,900 (standard in M850i xDrive)
    • 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque; starts at $130,000 (standard in M8)
    • 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 617 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque; starts at $143,000 (standard in M8 with Competition package)
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed automatic
BMW 8 Series Appearance Packages:
  • M Sport package (prices start at $4,550; available in 840i, 840i xDrive): 19-inch double-spoked wheels, black exterior trim, and M Sport brakes with blue or black calipers
  • M Carbon Exterior package (prices start at $4,100; available in M850i and M8): unique carbon styling elements on side mirrors, rear spoiler, and tailpipes
BMW 8 Series Performance Packages:
  • Cooling and High-Performance Tire package (prices start at $1,850; available in M850i Gran Coupe and Coupe only): 20-inch jet black wheels, high-performance non-run-flat tires, a more powerful cooling fan, and an additional engine oil cooler
  • M Driver’s package (prices start at $2,500; available in M8): raises top speed limit
BMW 8 Series Individual Performance Options:
  • Integral Active Steering (prices start at $1,150; available in 840i): all-wheel steering for better low-speed maneuverability and reduced turning radius, and higher-speed stability and lane changing
  • M Carbon Roof (prices start at $2,800; available in M850i Gran Coupe and Coupe only): lighter carbon fiber roof
  • M Carbon Ceramic Brakes (prices start at $8,150; available in M8)
8 Series Gas Mileage

With its base engine and rear-wheel drive, the 2021 8 Series coupe gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those estimates are good for the luxury sports car class and particularly impressive compared to other six-cylinder rivals.

The Gran Coupe and convertible return an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway when equipped as above. With the base engine and all-wheel drive, all body styles get 20/27 mpg city/highway.

BMW M850i xDrive models earn 17/24 mpg city/highway, and the M8 comes in at a fairly poor 15/21 mpg.

8 Series Ride and Handling

The 8 Series strikes a nice balance of handling prowess and comfortable cruising ability. It's not the most athletic car in this class due to steering that lacks enough feedback. Still, it can be pushed into corners with some enthusiasm, and it’ll come out the other side with nary a hair out of place.

Multiple adjustable suspension setups let you dial in your preferred amount of chassis stiffness or forgiveness. You can also cycle through Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport drive modes.

Despite its relatively long profile, this BMW is pretty maneuverable in tight spaces. The steering requires little effort, and you can opt for all-wheel steering as well. All-wheel steering enables the rear wheels to turn slightly to improve maneuverability at lower speeds and improve handling and stability at higher speeds.

How Fast Is the BMW 8 Series?

The BMW 840i with standard rear-wheel drive can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 to five seconds, depending on body style. With all-wheel drive, zero-to-60 times for 840i models are 4.4 to 4.6 seconds.

The M850i xDrive does the sprint in 3.5 to 3.8 seconds, again depending on body style. For all of the above measurements, coupe models have the fastest acceleration, with Gran Coupe and convertible models two- or three-tenths of a second slower.

The M8 goes from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat, according to BMW.

All 8 Series models outside of the M8 have a standard electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. You can increase that to 155 mph with optional equipment, such as upgraded tires. The M8's standard top speed is 156 mph; available enhancements raise that to 190.

Does the BMW 8 Series Have All-Wheel Drive?

Yes, the BMW 8 Series is available with all-wheel drive. The base 840i models come standard with rear-wheel drive, and AWD is optional for $2,900. All other 8 Series models, such as the M850i xDrive and M8, come standard with all-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

8 Series Interior: Watch Your Head

8 Series Cargo Space

The 8 Series Gran Coupe has among the most cargo space in the luxury sports car class. Its 15.5-cubic-foot trunk and the coupe's 14.8 cubic feet both beat out the storage spaces of nearly all rivals. Even the convertible, with 12.4 cubic feet, has above-average space for this segment.

It's easy to put heavy cargo in the trunk thanks to a low lip and liftover height. Furthermore, the back seats fold down almost completely flat, allowing you to transport longer items.

How Many People Does the 8 Series Seat?

The four-door BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe seats five people, while the two-door coupe and convertible carry four. No matter the body style, the front seats are excellent. There's ample support, soft cushioning and upholstery, and a myriad of power adjustments. Some models have multicontour or sport seats that cradle the driver and passenger even more.

In back, the Gran Coupe impresses with more than 3 feet of legroom. Even taller passengers should have sufficient space to stretch out. Because of the sloping roofline, headroom is tighter.

Coupe and convertible models are very inhospitable to second-row riders. It's hard to get back there, and both legroom and headroom are in short supply. In fact, the two-door versions of the 8 Series have less rear legroom than the coupe and convertible 2 Series, BMW's smallest car.

8 Series and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

8 Series Interior Quality

This BMW's cabin is top-notch. All materials are high-quality, and construction is sturdy. The interior design is sleek and sporty, but it’s not quite as opulent as some other high-end cars.

8 Series Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 8 Series is equipped with BMW's iDrive infotainment system. There's a slight learning curve to master it, but after that, operation is straightforward. In addition to a touch screen, you can use an ergonomic rotary knob on the center console to control the system. The center stack has two thin rows of buttons for climate settings and volume adjustments. Surrounding the control knob are shortcut buttons that can help you jump between infotainment functions.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 10.25-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, navigation, Bluetooth, two USB ports, wireless device charging, and a Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Available infotainment features: two rear USB ports and a 12- or 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium surround-sound stereo
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry, remote start, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and ambient interior lighting
  • Other available features: a panoramic moonroof, quad-zone automatic climate control, and a glass shift knob and console controls

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

8 Series Reliability

Is the BMW 8 Series Reliable?

The 2021 BMW 8 Series has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five. However, nearly all luxury sports cars rate well for predicted reliability.

BMW 8 Series Warranty

BMW covers the 8 Series with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

8 Series Safety

8 Series Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 8 Series. This is common for high-end luxury, expensive, and performance-oriented vehicles.

8 Series Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Head-up display
  • Lane departure warning
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Rearview camera
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers

Available advanced safety features:

  • Automatic parking assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane tracing assist
  • Traffic jam assistant

Read more about safety »

8 Series Dimensions and Weight

The 8 Series is 15.9 to 16.7 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,933 to 4,758 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 BMW 8 Series Built?

BMW builds the 2021 8 Series in Germany.

When Did the BMW 8 Series First Come Out?

The 2019 model year marked the debut of this luxury sports car. It is a drastically different vehicle from the 8 Series model that BMW sold in the North American market for the 1991 to 1997 model years. BMW used this new 8 Series to essentially replace the discontinued 6 Series coupe and convertible.

The 2019 M850i xDrive blended dynamic high performance with elegant design and represented BMW’s desire to compete with the likes of German rivals like the Audi R8 and Mercedes-Benz SL. To further the competition, BMW unleashed a swath of new trims for 2020: the BMW 840i, BMW M8 coupe, BMW M8 convertible, BMW M8 Competition coupe, and BMW M8 Competition convertible. The brand also debuted a four-door body style, which is available in every trim level.

Which BMW 8 Series Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 BMW 8 Series comes in a wide variety of configurations. There are three body styles – coupe, convertible, and Gran Coupe – and three major trims: 840i, M850i xDrive, and M8. Each trim has a distinct engine but a similar list of standard and optional features.

For most shoppers, an 840i model provides the best blend of performance and value. Its turbocharged inline-six engine is perfectly satisfying and comes at a savings of about $24,000 over the more powerful M850i trim. Sports car purists may also want to stick with a base 8 Series, as it's the only trim in the lineup that features rear-wheel drive.

BMW 840i

The 2021 BMW 840i comes standard with a 335-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Gran Coupe starts at $85,000, the coupe starts at $88,000, and the convertible retails for $97,400. You can get an all-wheel-drive 840i xDrive version of any body style for an additional $2,900.

Standard features include Vernasca leather upholstery, 14-way power-adjustable and heated front sport seats, front-seat memory settings, proximity keyless entry, remote start, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, power soft-closing doors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient interior lighting, an M Sport differential, an adaptive damping suspension, and a power tilt-and-telescoping, leather-wrapped, and heated sport steering wheel.

The infotainment system includes a 10.25-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, navigation, Bluetooth, two USB ports, wireless device charging, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Standard driver assistance features are forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a head-up display, lane departure warning, adaptive headlights, automatic high-beam headlights, a rearview camera, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Though it's less expensive, the Gran Coupe comes with some features that the coupe and convertible don't. That includes a panoramic moonroof, a power rear sunshade, quad-zone automatic climate control, and two rear USB ports.

The Driving Assistance package costs $1,100 and adds automatic parking assist, blind spot monitoring, driving information recording, a surround-view parking camera system, and front and rear parking sensors. If you buy that bundle, you can spend another $1,700 for the Driving Assistance Professional package that includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, and traffic jam assistant.

In the 840i coupe, the $1,050 Comfort Seating package adds ventilated and upgraded multicontour front seats. In the convertible, this package is $1,450 and adds a neck warmer. The Gran Coupe's $1,900 package adds heated rear seats and manual rear-window sunshades.

Other optional features include Merino leather upholstery ($1,500), an Alcantara headliner ($650), a glass shift knob and console controls ($650), all-wheel steering ($1,150), and a 12- or 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium surround-sound stereo ($3,400).

BMW M850i xDrive

BMW M850i xDrive models feature a 523-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 engine, all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, an adaptive M Sport suspension, an upgraded exterior appearance, M Sport brakes, Merino leather upholstery, 16-way power-adjustable and ventilated front seats, and an M Sport steering wheel.

Prices start at $108,900 for the Gran Coupe, $111,900 for the coupe, and $121,400 for the convertible.

BMW M8

For 2021, the BMW M8 is only available in the Gran Coupe body style for $130,000. The M8 has a 600-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine and M-specific suspension and chassis components. It also comes with high-performance M or M Sport versions of the transmission, exhaust, steering, brakes, and all-wheel-drive system, as well as an active M differential.

Other features include M front sport seats, an Alcantara headliner, carbon fiber interior trim, a carbon fiber roof, and unique exterior styling.

The Competition package costs $13,000. You get a boost in horsepower to 617, along with unique wheels, black exterior accents, and special M seat belts.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local BMW dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our BMW deals page.

See 2021 BMW 8 Series specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 BMW 8 Series hits the mark for a halo sports car from a brand that foments high expectations. It's a well-rounded luxury sports car with enjoyable performance, an upscale interior, lots of cargo space, and intuitive technology.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 8 Series is an excellent luxury cruiser with that particular BMW appeal to the driving experience. And although it’s far from a bargain, it comes with a lot of equipment and muscle for the money, standing up strongly against others in its class." -- Autotrader
  • "With the 8 Series Gran Coupe, BMW has created a winner. It has a decent amount of passenger space and utility for people with families. On top of this, you get impressive performance and sleek coupe-like style." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2021 BMW 8 Series is a range of large luxury grand touring machines. They all have the power and comfort for trans-continental road trips, along with the agility and ability to shine on twisting mountain passes. They’re also super-stylish and tech-rich." -- Kelley Blue Book
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