Just one year after the BMW Concept 8 Series made its regional debut in Malaysia, BMW Group Malaysia has followed up last year’s preview by launching the 8 Series Coupe here today.
Only one M850i xDrive variant is available, powered by a 4.4-litre twin turbo V8 that makes 530 hp between 5,500 – 6,000 rpm and 750 Nm from 1,800 – 4,600 rpm. Drive is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed torque converter automatic transmission, upgraded with new transmission management and optimized hydraulic control tailored for the 8 Series’ sportier character. The sprint from 0-100 km/h is done in 3.7 seconds.
The xDrive all-wheel drive has a rear-biased torque split, with excessive side slip kept in check by an electronically controlled rear differential lock. However since this is not an M8 (or an M5), the front axle can’t be disengaged.
Despite wearing the 8 Series designation – the first since the original E31 was discontinued in 1999 – the all-new G15 generation 8 Series Coupe is actually smaller than the discontinued F13 generation 6 Series Coupe.
This is where the Internet is divided. It’s unfortunate that the 8 Series was announced soon after the discontinuation of the 6 Series, leading critics to say that the 8 Series is simply a 6 Series with a new name. That’s rather unfair, because the product positioning and character of this all-new 8 Series is very different from the 6 Series Coupe, which was essentially a coupe version of the 5 Series.
The 8 Series is a far more dynamic product, as shown by its dimensions. It’s shorter (43 mm less), lower (23 mm less), and wider (8 mm more) than the 6 Series Coupe. Rather than going up against an E-Class Coupe like the 6 Series Coupe, the 2+2 seater 8 Series Coupe slots between a Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and a Porsche 911. It’s more engaging to drive than the S-Class Coupe, but is less edgy than a 911.
Underpinning the 8 Series Coupe is BMW’s modular CLAR platform, which doesn’t mean much as the highly flexible platform now underpins every rear- and all-wheel drive BMW model, ranging from a 3 Series to a 7 Series, plus all of the company’s SUV models except the front-wheel drive X1 and X2. It has a carbon fibre core but not in the same way as the 7 Series, limited only a carbon fibre transmission tunnel.
Anchoring the coupe is a set of Adaptive M suspension. The chassis’ agility is further optimized by a variable ratio Integral Active Steering.
It comes standard with BMW’s signature Laserlight, which in this form, is claimed to be BMW’s slimmest headlights to date.
As an M Performance model, the M850i comes with M rear spoilers and side sills, 19-inch blue M Sport brake calipers. Inside, it’s fitted with M Sport steering wheel, M pedals and footrest, while the seats are upholstered in Merino genuine leather. The dashboard is also unique only to the 8 Series, further cementing the image that this is a stand alone model rather than a coupe derivate of a 5 or 7 Series. The doors are also soft closing.
The BMW Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system has a 10.25-inch display screen and runs on the latest BMW Operating System 7.0.
The 8 Series is also the first BMW to debut the ‘Hey BMW’ Intelligent Personal Assistant feature in Malaysia. Analogous to Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX, the less fashionably named BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant responds to the trigger word ‘Hey BMW’ (can be customized), allowing drivers to use intuitive voice control to operate a variety of vehicle functions, including ambient lighting, infotaiment, and air-conditioning. It’s even capable of explaining the usage of the car’s myriad list of functions.
The 8 Series Coupe also debuts the BMW Digital Key, which utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) feature in your smartphone to turn your phone into a car key. With the BMW Connected app installed, an NFC-equipped smartphone can lock/unlock and start the car’s engine.
Advance driving aids include active cruise control with Stop&Go Function, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Warning, Pedestrian Collision Warning, Crossing Traffic Warning (front and rear), Emergency Stop Assistant, steering and lane control assistant, Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection and Evasion Aid which now reacts to pedestrians.
Six colour options are available - Carbon Black metallic, Black Sapphire metallic, Sonic Speed Blue metallic, Barcelona Blue metallic, Sunset Orange metallic, and Mineral White. The interior’s leather trim can be specified either in Black, Cognac or Ivory White BMW Individual Merino leather. Cars ordered in Sunset Orange will come with Jet Black wheels (20-inch across the range).
Imported from Dingolfing, Germany, the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe is priced upwards of RM 1,088,800. That’s still several hundred grand cheaper than the BMW i8 Coupe, which starts from RM 1,408,800. For what it is, the M850i represents quite good value for those shopping at this price point. A healthy number of orders (unofficially said to have reached two digit figures) have already been collected even before the car was launched.