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2023 BMW 840i Gran Coupe: What We Think of BMW’s Flagship ‘Coupe’

bmw-840i-gran-coupe-2023-01-exterior-front-angle 2023 BMW 840i Gran Coupe | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

BMW offers a small stable of Gran Coupe models that technically aren’t coupes at all. By definition, true coupes have only two doors, but BMW’s Gran Coupes are all sleekly styled four-doors with rakish, coupelike rooflines. The 8 Series Gran Coupe is the biggest and priciest example of the breed. It’s based on a stretched version of the 8 Series coupe and convertible’s platform, coming as the six-cylinder-powered 840i and in three V-8-powered models with escalating levels of power and performance: the M850i, Alpina B8 and M8.

Related: 2022 BMW i4 M50 Gran Coupe Review: Electric Rocket Ship

The 8 Series Gran Coupe debuted for the 2020 model year and gets a mild update for 2023 that includes freshened front-end styling, new paint colors and wheel designs, and a 12.3-inch infotainment display. There’s also a specially trimmed 8 X Jeff Koons M850i model — a collaboration with artist Jeff Koons — that wears an elaborate multicolor, comic-book-themed paint job and is limited to just 99 examples worldwide. It’s priced at a cool $350,995 (all prices include destination).

Meanwhile, the 840i xDrive Gran Coupe that we tested had a starting price of $88,895. Its as-tested price was $99,745 thanks to a roster of optional equipment that included 20-inch M double-spoke wheels ($1,300) in place of the standard 19s, the Comfort Seating Package ($650; adds heated front and rear seats), white Merino leather upholstery ($2,000) and a dazzling — and very pricey — color-shift paint called Sepia Violet Metallic ($5,500).

At that $100,000 price point, the 840i Gran Coupe is an intriguing alternative to BMW’s redesigned-for-2023 740i large sedan and the flagship sedans of rival luxury brands, such as the Audi A8, Genesis G90 and Lexus LS. The Gran Coupe, however, has a different mission. It’s best to think of it as a grand touring coupe with the added convenience of four doors and a usable backseat rather than a stately, extra-spacious sedan.

In keeping with its low roofline, the Gran Coupe’s seating position is also low-slung. This means entry and exit is a drop-in/climb-out affair, and you’ll likely find that your eye is about level with the door handles of the SUVs around you on the road. The backseat can accommodate adult passengers — as long as they’re shorter than, say, 6 feet tall — but the rear center console limits capacity to two people and makes the rear legroom a tad more cramped. The trunk opening is on the stingy side and the load floor is rather high, but the space is usefully deep front to back, and the center of the rear seat flips down to create a decent-sized cargo pass-through.

When I first got into our test vehicle, I was somewhat perplexed by the relative restraint of a six-cylinder engine in such a pricey machine. If you’re already spending almost six figures and opting for style over space, why not dial up the decadence and cough up another $15,000 or so for the M850i and its 523-horsepower, twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8?

But that was before I drove the car. BMW’s turbo 3.0-liter inline-six has been around for a while, but it still punches above its weight and feels gutsier than its 335-hp rating would suggest. It pulls smoothly and strongly from most any rpm and sounds suitably exotic at the higher reaches of its rev range. This engine more than holds its own in the largest Gran Coupe offering, which weighs in at around 4,300 pounds in 840i xDrive form.

I wasn’t the only Cars.com staffer who drove the 840i Gran Coupe, however. Here are a few more impressions:

Joe Bruzek, Managing Editor

This particular 840i Gran Coupe was a fan favorite in my household. Both my kids (2 and 5 years old) loved the shimmering Sepia Violet Metallic paint that danced between purple, bronze and even green in varying light conditions. Should you spend $5,500 on a paint option because a 5-year-old likes it? I probably would; I was equally enthusiastic about the chameleon-like color on the low-slung, wide-stanced 840i Gran Coupe. My young kids’ car seats didn’t fit very well in the backseat, however, and they instantly coated the $2,000 white Merino leather interior in a light film of dirt and phlegm.

I was more enthusiastic about driving the 840i Gran Coupe on an elusive date night. The 840i Gran Coupe is a luxury cruiser more at home driving through downtown Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, home to trendy restaurants and posh hotels, than it is pulling weekend soccer duty. And I found it to be a joy to drive, with confident moves despite its imposing dimensions and light steering feedback. Plus, it has a surprisingly comfortable ride even with its 20-inch wheels wrapped in summer tires.

More than just comfortable ride quality, driving and using the 840i Gran Coupe was a comforting experience. It drives without surprises or oddities thanks to its smooth turbocharged six-cylinder that delivers a harmonious soundtrack, and that engine works in perfect sync with the eight-speed automatic transmission. The 840i Gran Coupe also has normalized controls with an easy-to-use touchscreen, and it mostly does without a barrage of gadget and gizmo technology clamoring for your attention; the gesture control for audio system controls did prove intrusive for someone who talks with their hands because, in an animated conversation, it would change audio tracks or mute the volume.

Jennifer Geiger, News Editor

While there are a few impressive things about the 840i (smooth and potent power, engaging handling, opulent cabin), I had trouble getting past some ergonomic and control issues. First, I struggled to find a seating position that balanced visibility and comfort. The sharply raked windshield cuts into forward visibility, and the tiny rear window, sloped rear roofline and thick rear roof pillars made it tough to get a clear view back. Also, the power button is in an ergonomically unfriendly position, hidden behind the steering wheel.

The multimedia interface also did not impress. It looks dated compared with what’s in the newer BMW iX and i4; those systems have slicker graphics and more straightforward menus.

I had a few gesture control fails, as well; opening the center console box inadvertently changed the radio station a couple of times. On the flip side, the volume gesture was not sensitive enough, requiring multiple finger-circle attempts to engage. Due to this inaccuracy, the gesture feature feels more like a gimmick than something useful. It did provide a lot of laughs, however.

In back, the right kind of passenger will be very comfortable — the outboard seats are wide and supportive, and the vibe is very high-end thanks to supple leather and a fancy center console that extends from the front. The passengers need to be on the short side, too, because the sloping rear roofline eats into headroom and even makes the door-opening small. Kids, however, are not going to work back there; the white leather is a canvas for stains, and I struggled to install a forward-facing car seat and a booster because the fixed head restraints pushed the car seats way off of the seatback, which is a safety issue.

Patrick Masterson, Chief Copy Editor

The best thing I can say about the 8 Series Gran Coupe is that it does exactly what it’s supposed to as a big, four-seat luxury grand tourer. It practically glides over highways and remains totally composed in corners. The eight-speed automatic transmission is pleasant, with shifts coming smoothly at both lower and higher speeds with little lag or hesitancy going up or down the gears. The steering wheel is nice and thick, too, ideal for gripping on longer drives. You’ll always feel comfortable, and the illuminated grille is a classy touch at night.

That’s both the blessing and the curse of the Gran Coupe, in fact. The flip side to such a settled driving experience is that you don’t feel connected to the road most of the time; steering inputs are received almost passively and offer little in the way of feedback for a driver hoping to get more out of the car. Similarly, the deep engine note is thoroughly dampened, and it’s difficult to get excited about a dull roar.

bmw-840i-gran-coupe-2023-16-interior-engine 2023 BMW 840i Gran Coupe | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Strangely, my least favorite part might be the front seats: Try though I did to find a comfortable position, the seat cushion offered almost no support; were it not for the car’s insulated driving dynamics, I’d have felt like I was sitting on the chassis itself. I wasn’t alone; a front passenger complained about the same issue. That the rest of the Gran Coupe is so refined only served to put the front seats’ failings in starker relief.

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