Rain or shine, an overnight photo shoot in London is always hard to turn down; especially when accompanied by something as special as BMW’s all-new 8 Series. Whilst it may be a beautiful thing to look at, does this swish-looking Gran Turismo have everything that it takes to be BMW’s new flagship?
At launch, two variants of the BMW 8 Series were available: the M850i xDrive petrol and the 850d xDrive diesel. The petrol uses the latest TwinPower Turbo eight-cylinder engine to produce 530hp and to effortlessly glide from 0-62mph in just 3.7seconds, whilst the diesel uses a TwinPower Turbo inline-six to produce 315hp, 501lb ft of torque and a very healthy real world mpg figure of around 40mpg.
Ours was the latter – the 850d xDrive – and its ability to easily eat up the miles was truly astounding; putting a diesel in a big Gran Turismo coupe successfully is no mean feat but BMW have certainly managed it. Unlike some diesel cars of this size the 850d never struggles, is always responsive and always has a handful of torque on offer, regardless of whether you’re climbing a hill or not.
Both the M850i and 850d feed their power to all-four wheels through an automatic gearbox that offers near seamless changes. Something that proved very helpful at the end of our shoot, when London decided to become deep in snow. Not once did the 8 Series struggle where others around us were.
Sadly, the media team are yet to try the M850i xDrive but with over 500hp being fed through BMW’s clever xDrive system, we’re sure that it’d be a fantastic thing to drive. Talking of the xDrive system; power is fed to the rear-axle by default, with drive only being sent to the front wheels when deemed necessary by the car’s clever brain.
The effect is the same sporty driving characteristics that you’d expect from a BMW but with the added confidence that the car isn’t going to become a handful, regardless of what you throw at it. Amplifying this further, both 8 Series models come with adaptive dampers, electrically assisted steering with an “active variable ratio ‘integral active’ steering system” that offers front and rear wheel steering and double wishbone suspension.