BMW: 8 Series Gran Coupe, electric success plus Mercedes collaboration
21 August 2019
Various BMW models feature regularly in Leama Specialist Cars’ sales inventory and personal and business lease brokerage, and one new introduction to the Munich marque’s lineup that we’re particularly excited over is the 8 Series Gran Coupe.
Bringing back the 8 Series badge just shy of twenty years after the original version was a very positive move by BMW, providing an answer to the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and other offerings in the large luxury 2-door GT class such as the Maserati Granturismo. It replaces the 6 Series Coupe, proving that BMW isn’t just performing a numerical exercise, and we feel that following the high demand for the 4 Series Gran Coupe that remains unabated, the market will welcome a four-door coupe of grand proportions.
With a kidney grille as imposing as the new design introduced to the new 7 Series saloon, the slimmest headlights BMW has sketched to date, a muscularly contoured bonnet and shoulders, large exhausts, a sculpted and dynamic side profile and a height increase of 6.1cm compared to the 2-door Coupe, the new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is set to look simply stunning, with Laserlight and M Sport styling upgrades making it even more special.
Inside the forthcoming new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, set to go on sale in the UK in September 2019, the car’s four cosseting leather seats and central rear bench suitable for short journeys will unsurprisingly be complemented by the latest cutting-edge technology, systems and features, from a head-up display and BMW Live Cockpit Professional, to a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, BMW Display Key and a raft of driver assistance and safety suites.
Promising more legroom than any other two-door BMW so far, helped by a wheelbase 20cm longer than its sibling, the new 8 Series Gran Coupe’s gear selector and certain other controls can be finished in glass, and although the 440-litre boot doesn’t sound especially large, BMW says it can fit three golf bags, and the seats split and fold 40:20:40.
Adaptive M suspension comes as standard across the new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe lineup, and engines from launch will comprise the 840i in rear-wheel drive and xDrive, alongside the M850i xDrive in the petrol stakes, and high-mileage diesel drivers looking to buy or lease a luxury car that upholds GT characteristics will be delighted with the torquey 840d xDrive. Power spans from 320bhp in the diesel through to 530bhp in the M850i, which has a 62mph sprint time of 3.9 seconds.
Although BMW hasn’t released any information yet and Carsten Groeber has even commented that it along with V12 power won’t happen, we think it’s inevitable that the new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe will see a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) version added to its engine range in due course, perhaps taken from the i8 unless BMW’s engineers have got an even more advanced powertrain up their sleeves.
BMW is the market leader in battery-electric and hybrid cars
Talking of hybrid and electric cars, it may surprise some in a growing sector many perceive as being dominated by the likes of Lexus, Nissan, Tesla and Toyota, that it’s actually BMW leading the way in ‘electromobility’, having sold or registered over 140,000 plug-in hybrid or fully-electric vehicles in 2018.
Europe as a whole is BMW’s primary PHEV and EV market at the moment, with 75,000 deliveries last year compared to the States where 25,000 electrified BMWs found their homes, and the German brand now has a 9% share in the global hybrid and electric car market.
BMW’s plugged-in journey started with the all-electric i3, of course, which was subsequently made even more versatile with a Range Extender, and a continuously growing appetite for 330e and 530e models amongst our and other dealerships’ prestige car sales and leasing clients points to a hopefully not-too-distant time when BMW will launch a larger fully-electric model.
China is a market that BMW, like most other car brands, has an increasing focus on, and the Germans last year announced a partnership with the Chinese car and pickup manufacturer Great Wall, which sees them working together on growing sales of the MINI Electric in Asia.
BMW and Mercedes collaborating?
Along with Audi, these two prestige car manufacturers from Germany have long been regarded as rivals, the A6, 5 Series and E-Class, for example, competing directly for sales and lease deals, with any sort of partnership seeming unlikely.
These days, though, the traditional automotive world and its car scene are fast morphing into a future dominated by not only electrification but also autonomous, connected, and shared vehicles and, as demonstrated by the recent partnering of mainstream rivals Ford and Volkswagen, the major investment required by these strategies is increasingly seeing car firms combine their strengths.
In July, the BMW Group announced an official collaboration with Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz’ parent company, with a view to cooperating in the autonomous or ‘driverless’ space. Together, BMW and Mercedes will jointly develop next-generation advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), parking technology and other clever stuff, which will eventually enable certain of their models to drive autonomously at ‘Level 4’, meaning full driverless capability in authorised areas – just one step away from driving anywhere at all with no human inside.
Development and introduction of many of these car technologies will be undertaken alongside well-known tech’ firms such as Intel, tyre manufacturers like Continental, and sat nav mapping businesses including HERE, and many of the advanced systems are hoped to start being integrated into cars available for everyday consumers to buy and lease by 2024 onwards.