I drove a $101,000 BMW 840i Grand Coupe to find out if this luxury 4-door is the best bimmer money can buy - here's the verdict
- I tested a 2020 BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe, with a well-optioned price tag of $100,675.
- My test car was luxurious and dashing, and its inline six-cylinder engine served up better performance than I was expecting.
- The BMW 840i Gran Coupe is an offbeat BMW that's worth a look if you want something substantial and versatile that's fun to drive and crammed with premium appointments.
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The 2020 BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe had me at Vroom!
The entire BMW 8-Series line had been missing in action for quite some time; the original car ended production before the turn of the century. So enthusiasts' hearts leapt worldwide when a few years back BMW announced that the 8-Series was back.
They leapt even more when an M8 version was launched last year. I'm looking forward to that car, but in the meantime, I had sampled an M850i convertible in 2019 - a foretaste of the proper M car - and a little while back, BMW loaned me the 840i, a four-door coupé that tipped the cost scales at $100,675.
The M850i was $126,000, but it came with a twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V8, 523 horsepower with 553 pound-feet of juicy torque, under the hood. The cheaper Gran Coupe packed a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six, cranking out 335 horsepower with 368 pound-feet of torque.
On paper, no contest. But here's the thing about high-performance V8s versus high-performance sixes: I can be easily seduced by the six's ease of use. I can't complain about a ferocious V8 - there is something about having a bottomless well of torque thrumming away at your fingertips - but I often enjoy the absence of two cylinders for the simple reason that the car feels sportier and I can get into far more of the power in normal driving.
This has been my experience with both Jaguars and Porsches. And now I note the preference, somewhat, in the 8-Series.
A coupé that's grand and has four-doors
You might wonder why a four-door has been labeled a coupé by the thrillmeisters at Bayerische Motoren Werke. Many of the old-school do. A coupé used to be a two-door, and some 8-Series cars are that. But in the case of the Gran Coupe, the reference is to styling: the sloping fastback roofline distinguishes the 840i from the 740i, a proper sedan. And there is a coupé Coupe - the Gran business adds a pair of doors.
Okay, with that out of the way, we can assess the 840i's complete package. My 2020 model year test car was very complete indeed. Starting at $87,800 with BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system, the 840i received thousands of dollars in goodies, including a nearly $5,000 M Sport package. A driver-assist package added $1,100 - and "Pro" upgrade tacked on $1,700. The 20-inch M Sport wheels were a cool $1,300.
But otherwise, the $88,000 base was pretty well-appointed, with everything from ventilated disc brakes to a tasty Harman Kardon premium audio system, as well as the latest generation of BMW's iDrive infotainment system, featuring a 10.25-inch central touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Wireless device charging is onboard, as is a suite of connectivity features.
At the core of the 840i's existence is a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine, masking 335 horsepower with 368 pound-feet of torque. That doesn't look staggering on paper, but behind the wheel it's a compelling powerplant, with a roughly five-second 0-60 mph time, a precise eight-speed transmission with an auto-manual option, and an engine note that, while boosted via the audio system, sits somewhere between bark and roar.
Comfort and performance in equal measure
For everyday motoring, the Gran Coupe is grand, indeed. Over a long freeway drive, it offers comfort and amenities a-plenty, but flip it into Sport or Sport+ mode and you can dig into the powerband and stress the otherwise well-composed merger of sophisticated suspension and all-wheel-drive. This is a car that can reward some throttle into a curve and still blows past semis on the highway with elite aplomb. The six-banger can't quite emulate V8 oomph, but it carves out its own niche, and it's a good one. The fuel-economy is also pleasing: 20 mpg city/27 highway/23 combined.
It's also a sharp bimmer, wearing its size like an athlete with a good tailor. In "Black Sapphire Metallic" paint and with a red-and-black interior, my test car commanded attention.
Is it the best BMW money can buy? Well, no. But it's among the best, and for a traditional four-door customer angling for some luxury with a dash of performance and style, the 840i is downright cool.
The $100,000-plus price tag is indeed steep. But this ultimate driving machine is versatile enough to be worth a closer evaluation if you'd like a little M Sport mixed with a bimmer that's a step up from the 5-Series.
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