New Car review: BMW 840i Gran Coupe
The latest in luxury style statements from BMW.
If, like me, you wondered ‘what’s the difference between the BMW 840i Coupe and the 840i Gran Coupe?’, then the answer is doors and space.
The Gran Coupe has two more of the former and a bit more of the latter, which begs the question how any car purporting to be a coupe can have more than two doors? Turns out the long-understood definition of a coupe being a car with a fixed roof, two doors and a sloping roof is all a bit old hat these days, as evidenced by established four-door coupes like the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the Audi A7.
Now, following the reboot of its high-end 8-Series range last year with the M850i Coupe and Convertible, BMW has followed suit, adding a new six-cylinder engine and four-door body style to the line-up. Within the seven-model range the 840i Gran Coupe ($199,900) is, remarkably, the least expensive variant and priced reasonably keenly versus rivals like the Porsche Panamera ($219,000) and Mercedes-AMG GT53 4-Door ($249,900).
BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder effortlessly musters the necessary horsepower (250kW/500Nm) to accelerate the 1870kg Gran Coupe from 0-100km/h in a competitive 5.2 seconds. Muscular and smooth spinning, the engine is a return to the inline configuration BMW enthusiasts celebrate, driving the rear wheels via a brilliantly intuitive eight-speed automatic.
Slightly longer, wider and taller than the Coupe, the Gran Coupe features a more generous passenger compartment, with scalloped rear bucket seats bisected by a centre console housing individual ventilation controls and twin USB plugs. There’s decent legroom and space for all but the tallest body types, while a 440-litre boot will easily house a couple of sets of golf clubs. Privacy is assured via electric side and rear window screens and sunshades.
Up front, the dash, doors and seats are clad in high quality stitched leather, accentuated with satin-finish metal, while suede-like Alcantara covers the pillars and headlining. Instrumentation is familiar contemporary BMW fare, attractively designed and well laid out, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster ahead of the driver, and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen in the centre of the dash.
The driving position is low and comfortable, with firmly bolstered multi-adjustable seats and good all-round visibility, aided by a multitude of cameras and sensors. The leather steering wheel is satisfyingly thick, and the car reacts to steering inputs with the sort of instantly assured dynamics the German brand is renowned for.
Adaptive suspension with electronically controlled dampers is nicely compliant in the default mode but firms up noticeably in sport or sport+, when the engine and transmission take on a more edgy intent. Suppression of noise, vibration and harshness is excellent, with just enough engine note permitted to enter the cabin at higher revs to satisfy the enthusiast.
Try as we might to retain our egalitarian indifference, it’s difficult to not be impressed by the thrilling performance, keen handling and superb interior of this, the latest in luxury style statements from BMW.
- Price: $199,900 (plus on-road costs)
- Engine: 3.0-litre DOHC, 24v, turbocharged inline-6
- Ancap Safety Rating: Not Rated
- Tailpipe CO2 (g/km): 180g/km.
Style-statement exterior, beautifully trimmed interior, silky smooth drivetrain.
Price, four-plus one seating designation is misleading – it’s a four-seater.
Story: Ged Bulmer