Class: Premium Midsize Car
Miles driven: 220
Fuel used: 12.8 gallons
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Real-world fuel economy: 17.2 mpg
Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/25/20 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium Gas
Base price: $108,900 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Driving Assistance Package ($1100), Drivers Assistance Pro Package ($1700), Comfort Seating Package ($850), glass controls ($650), Bowers & Wilkins audio system ($3400), M Carbon Exterior Package ($4100)
Price as tested: $121,695
The great: Posh cabin; prodigious power; sexy, coupe-like styling with extra practicality of four doors
The good: Impressive cornering prowess for a “plus-size” midsize luxury sedan; drive-mode settings effectively change vehicle’s driving personality
The not so good: Swoopy roofline cuts into rear-seat headroom; thirsty; sleek styling brings price premium over more-powerful BMW M5
Some type of congratulation is due to the luxury-brand manufacturers who have figured out this trick: how to put out 4-door sedans with less of the headroom and, in some cases, less of the passenger capacity that draw people to sedans in the first place but still charge more for them. All it took was calling such a car a “coupe.”
Or Gran Coupe, if you’re BMW. Its sleek, style-focused midsize sedan gets a name change and a redesign for 2020, replacing the 6-Series Gran Coupe with the new 8-Series Gran Coupe. It is the final step in the 6-to-8 metamorphosis that began in model-year 2019 with the arrival of 8-Series coupes (real ones, with two doors) and convertibles.
The 8-Series Gran Coupe comes with a choice of 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine in 840 models or 4.4-liter V8 of ascending power outputs in 850 and M8 models. Only the 840 gives owners the option of rear-wheel or all-wheel drivelines; every other model has standard xDrive AWD. Consumer Guide tested the entry-level V8 job, the M850i, which starts at $109,895 with delivery. That’s $21,100 more than its closest 6-cylinder match, the 840i xDrive—a gap so big that you could parallel park a Chevy Sonic LT hatchback between them and have money left over to feed the meter. For weeks. With options, the test car clocked in at all of $121,695.
It’s possible to buy other—and cheaper—BMW sedans with the same 523-horsepower V8 and xDrive, namely the midsize M550i ($77,645) and large 750i ($103,645). Here’s how the Gran Coupe externally stacks up to those cars (manufacturer-supplied measurements in inches):
However, it’s inside where the Gran Coupe feels the pinch from its high-style low-rise roof, and doesn’t seem to benefit from its greater exterior width:
Like all coupe/sedans, the Gran Coupe’s restricted rear headroom is more apparent in person than mere numbers can show. A 6-foot-tall passenger may just fit up to the headliner, and will have to duck to get there. That said, folks who do fit will find relaxed legroom. This Bimmer has thick B- and C-pillars and low windows, especially in the rear doors, that restrict driver vision to the sides and rear corners. It also has a stylish console that extends to the rear that locks this sizeable 4-door car into being a 4-seater. Any buyer who requires 5-passenger flexibility is just going to have to be prepared to spend less.
The sacrifices the M850i Gran Coupe asks in conventional sedan room are compensated by luxurious appointments and highly enjoyable performance. Standard Merino-leather seats are comfortable and supportive—all the more so up front with cushion extenders. The base price also includes heated and ventilated front seats, plus a heated steering wheel and door armrests. There’s a panoramic moonroof and a power rear-window shade. “Live Cockpit Professional” provides drivers with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch central display for the iDrive 7.0 infotainment system, including navigation. Operation is by voice, touchscreen contact, or somewhat-complicated remote control from a dial on the console. Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility, wireless charging, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are included, too. The climate system is 4-zone, with rear-passenger controls (including optional seat heaters) in the console.
The M prefix means the 850i Gran Coupe has M Sport equipment for a milder taste of the full M-vehicle treatment by BMW’s performance-development division. That includes specific 20-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive suspension with active roll stabilization, M Sport differential and ventilated 4-wheel disc brakes, rear spoiler, and leather-wrapped M Sport multifunction steering wheel. The smooth luxury-car ride in base “Comfort” mode feels much firmer after clicking into a “Sport” setting—and may not be the preferred choice for a steady diet of distressed pavement. On the highway, though, the car feels purposefully planted. Steering resistance increases, too, for a heightened sense of precision. “Integral Active Steering” with rear-wheel steering comes with xDrive. It helps to make the sizeable sedan nimbler in cornering, which the car does with admirable control of body lean. Braking is low effort and quick responding.
BMW says an M850i Gran Coupe will do the 0-60-mph run in 3.7 seconds. The twin-turbocharged V8 feels its full 523 horsepower at 6000 rpm, but has 553 lb-ft of torque at the ready as early as 1800 revs. It’s downright racy in response and sound when running in Sport, and faster and more-obvious shifts emanate from the 8-speed transmission in fully automatic operation. On the highway, prompt trans kickdown makes for excellent passing capability. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 17 mpg in city driving, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 combined, but this reviewer’s 123-mile test stint with 51 percent city-type driving averaged only 17.4 mpg.
Storage options include a large glove box and a console box with a divided lid hinged at the sides. There are long door pockets, hard-sided pouches on the backs of the front seats, covered front cup holders in the console, and a shallow covered bin and bright-trimmed pop-out cup holders in the armrest that retracts from the middle of the 40/20/40-split rear seat. Trunk space is adequate but not exceptional for the car’s overall size. A tall lip has to be cleared when loading or unloading and there’s no underfloor space, but the rear seats fold almost flat to maximize cargo space.
The Gran Coupe seems to cater to luxury-class buyers who’d like a coupe if only it were more practical but will shell out for a sedan that doesn’t quite look like one. Congratulations to BMW for figuring out how to do that for them.
M850i xDrive Gran Coupe
M850i xDrive Gran Coupe Gallery
M850i xDrive Gran Coupe