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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

BMW 8 Series gets Gran(der) Coupe touch

Shown in an online leak last week, BMW has now officially revealed the third iteration of the revived 8 Series, the four-door Gran Coupe.

The spiritual successor to the 6 Series Gran Coupe that ended production some two years ago, the 8 Series Gran Coupe rides on the same CLAR platform as its siblings, but measures 201 mm longer than the coupe with a wheelbase of 3 023 mm, and an overall length of 5 082 mm, up 231 mm.

Retaining the same 1 627 mm front track as the coupe with the rear being 28 mm wider at 1 671 mm, the Gran Coupe has seen its width increase by 30 mm to 1 932 mm and its height raised by 61 mm to 1 407 mm, making it wider than any current production BMW on sale.

While appearing similar to the coupe and cabriolet from the front, the wider and longer dimensions, in addition to having been redesigned from the A-pillar back, sees the Gran Coupe adopting a coupe-like, sloping roof with a flatter windscreen and an actual rear-end appearance again similar to its stable mates.

Available as an option, the panoramic glass roof is bespoke to the Gran Coupe and, when combined with the windscreen and rear window, adds up to 1.5 square metres of glass.

According to BMW, the Gran Coupe’s practical gains over the coupe includes a 40/20/40 split rear seats, 86.4 mm more rear headroom despite the tapering roof and 440-litres of boot space with the lid itself being auto open/close. In Europe, BMW will offer a choice of three exterior packages; Chrome Line, M Technic Sport and M Sport.

Aside from the space gain, the interior is otherwise unchanged from the coupe and cabriolet and comes with an assortment of material finishes and trim pieces, as well as standard Ivory White, Cognac or black  Vernasca leather, the BMW Live Cockpit Professional made up of the 10.25-inch iDrive infotainment system with 7.0 operating system and the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, quad-zone climate control, colour Heads-Up Display and three sound systems; the standard 205-watt nine-speaker audio, an optional 16-speaker 464-watt Harman Kardon Surround Sound System and a partially illuminated 16-speaker, 1 400-watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound with a 16 channel amplifier.

Driver assistance and safety systems meanwhile includes Adaptive Cruise Control, the Adaptive Headlights with the optional Selective Beam Laserlights, Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking and Cyclist Detection, Driving Assistant made up of Lane Change and Lane Departure Warning, the optional Driving Assistant Professional with Evasion Assistant and Wrong Way Warning, Parking Assistant, surround view camera system and Night Vision.

Underneath its bonnet, the Gran Coupe will come powered by a choice of two turbocharged six-cylinder engines and one turbocharged V8, all connected to an eight-speed Steptronic gearbox with some models having the option of xDrive all-wheel-drive.

Debuting on the Gran Coupe, the entry-level blown-six does duty in the 840i and displaces 3.0-litres with power and torque being rated at 250kW/500Nm. The only derivate to have the option of rear-or-all-wheel-drive, the 840i has a limited top speed of 250 km/h, though models with xDrive will complete the 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.9 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than the rear-wheel-drive.

At the sharp-end of the petrol line-up, the M850i xDrive utilises the familiar 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that punches out 390kW/750Nm, which is send to all four wheels via the sports-optimised Steptronic ‘box.

Fitted as standard with the otherwise optional M Sport differential, uprated M Sport brakes and Adaptive M suspension, the M850i also rides on 20-inch Frozen Cerium Grey metallic M light alloy wheels and will complete the 0-100 km/h dash in 3.9 seconds.

Serving as the sole diesel engine option, the 840d gets the M850i’s differential as standard, but like its lesse petrol sibling, rides on 18-inch alloy with M light 19-inch alloys and the aforementioned 20-inch rollers optional.

With its six-cylinder motor also displacing 3.0-litres, the oil-burning 840d produces 235kW/680Nm, with the amount twist being routed to all four wheels only, allowing it to race from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 5.1 seconds. Like the rest of the Gran Coupe line-up, the 840d’s top speed is limited to 250 km/h.

Set to go on sale in September, BMW South Africa has confirmed that the 8 Series Gran Coupe will arrive during the fourth quarter of this year in 840i, 840d xDrive and M850i xDrive guises with pricing still to be announced.

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