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New BMW 8-Series: A question of sport


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BMW’s 8-Series is more of a grand tourer than an out-and-out sports car (Image: NC)

Their marketing people got it into their heads a long time ago that sporty sells, so almost everything made of metal and fitted with four wheels can have the label.

Sports utility vehicles are a perfect example: there’s not a great deal of sportiness about a boxy Chelsea tractor but it’s still called an SUV.

Coupés can genuinely be described as sporty – although that doesn’t always necessarily make them sports cars.

Take this new BMW 8-Series.

The German firm describes it as the latest in its “long and illustrious history of making iconic and sensational sports cars” but the 8 is no 507, M1 or Z8.

In fact, it’s a lot closer to what one company executive described as “a gentleman’s tourer” than an out-and-out sports car.

The 8-Series is very much a tourer, with a design that reflects the feeling this isn’t a hardcore machine but something built for taking on longer trips that involve as much motorway driving as they do twistier B roads.

The not-inconsiderable size and coupé silhouette are sophisticated and imposing but the swoop of the roof slightly jars the eyeline, as it seems as if it can’t wait to start its descent to the rear. BMW will launch four-door and convertible versions of the 8-Series in 2019 and we suspect that the styling might be better resolved with those.

Initially, there are just two engine variants with this coupé, a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel and a 4.4-litre petrol unit.

The diesel is the 840d which uses a six-cylinder, twin-turbo powerplant, generates 316bhp and enables a 0-to 60mph sprint in just 4.8 seconds. Average fuel economy is 46.3mpg and emissions 160g/km.