Some cars are secrets, their reveals big surprises. The 2020 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is not. You remember it from the 2018 BMW M8 Gran Coupe concept (which wasn’t really a concept), a litany of spy photos, and a teaser last month that pretty much gave it all away. After two years of rollout and nearly three months after BMW previewed it to the media, the four-door Gran Coupe version of the excellent 8 Series—our Design of the Year—is finally here.
You didn’t need the concept or the teasers to guess what the Gran Coupe might look like, though. As it’s done in the past with the 4 and 6 Series, BMW simply stretched the 8 Series coupe we know and love by some nine inches to make room for rear doors. In fact, the entire car ahead of the windshield is exactly the same as the coupe. It’s the same general structure in the rest of the car, too, just longer. And don’t worry, this stretch was baked into the engineering plans from day one.
Naturally, the car has a few unique details in addition to the taffy-pulling. The windshield is laid back slightly, but the roof is 2.4 inches higher than the coupe’s; you’ll never notice it unless you park next to one, though. The rear track is also 1.2 inches wider, a change BMW claims was necessary to maintain the shape of the coupe’s rear fenders while accommodating the Gran Coupe’s new roofline and extra doors.
Like the regular two-door, the Gran Coupe will be offered in two trims and two drivetrain configurations. Most will go for the M850i xDrive with its 523-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 and all-wheel drive, though the price- or weight-conscious will prefer the new 840i trim level (also newly announced for the coupe) and its 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six with 335 horsepower and either rear- or all-wheel drive. Expect an M8 Gran Coupe, in line with the concept (and the coupe and convertible versions) and packing either 600 or 617 horsepower from an uprated 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8. No matter the engine or driven wheels, you’re working through an eight-speed automatic.
Things are just as familiar inside. In fact, the front half of the cabin is again identical, so hopefully you already like it. The view in the rearview mirror little more than a mail-slot view of the world behind thanks to a tall trunk. It’s a deceptively large trunk with a smallish opening, sort of like opening a shoebox at the end rather than the top.
In between is the Gran Coupe’s reason for being. An extra 7.9 inches of wheelbase makes for substantially more rear-seat legroom. What it doesn’t make it is a fifth seat—the roof is just too low to make that work. As such, you sit low and deep in the rear buckets with fairly generous headroom for such an aggressive roofline. You won’t be sharing that legroom, either, as there’s a massive console separating the prom dates.
Although it’s indisputably more comfortable for the rear-seat passengers, don’t think the 8 Series has gone soft in Gran Coupe guise. BMW says the long wheelbase may make it ride a little better than the Coupe, but it’s tuned for the same mission. The 7 Series is the luxury barge; as a BMW rep put it, the Gran Coupe is a “large sports car for the buyer who wants a coupe but needs four doors.”
If that sounds like you, you’ll be able to pick one up in September 2019 starting at $85,895.