Big sedans are becoming a rarity. BMW only sold about 4,400 8 Series in total in 2019, and that includes variants. The BMW M850i Gran Coupe almost classifies as a rare sighting in many cities. But for the buyer who wants to shell out the price of a decent house in Detroit for a four-door that looks like a coupe, we take a closer look at whether the interior of the 2020 BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupe fits the bill.
We waited more than two years for the Gran Coupe to make the journey from concept to production. BMW took the coupe and stretched it 9.0 inches to make room for two more doors and give rear passengers a bit more stretching room.
The base price for a 2020 M850i Gran Coupe is $109,895, but the loaner for our review is optioned up to $122,775. Extras include the $1,100 Driving Assistance package that bundles parking assist, a drive recorder, active blind spot detector, forward collision warning with city collision mitigation, lane departure warning, rearview camera, and surround view with 3-D view. In other words, a lot of tech to prevent collisions. The $1,700 Driving Assistance Professional package adds extended traffic jam assistant that takes over driving in stop-and-go traffic, and Active Driving Assistant Pro for active cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and other driving aids.
The exterior was outfitted with the $4,100 M Carbon Exterior package that lets the world know your M status. No extra charge for the Black Sapphire Metallic paint.
Dive Into This Sea of Leather
Also standard: the Fiona Red and black Extended Merino leather, which is downright stunning. The two-tone—heavy on the red—is a vibrant break from the all-black suit worn by so many luxury vehicles. The perforated red leather inserts really pop, as do the large swaths of red on the doors and the red leather that covers the center console and runs down the sides.
A must-have: the $850 Comfort Seating package that heats the rear seats and adds power rear sunshades. This is over and above the standard heated and cooled front seats and heated armrests. But really, what’s the point of buying this magnificent beast if you aren’t comfortable during the many hours you’ll spend driving it. After all, this has a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 under the hood that generates 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. That’s mated to an eight-speed sport automatic transmission with Sport and manual shift modes, paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel, and launch control. The xDrive tag means all-wheel drive is standard. This model rides on 20-inch M wheels. In MotorTrend testing, the two-door M850i xDrive took just 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph before crossing the quarter mile in 11.9 seconds at 116 mph. Impressive numbers considering its 4,365-pound curb weight. You can expect this four-door Gran Coupe to be heavier and therefore a bit slower.
After sliding inside, your hands grab the three-spoke leather-wrapped M sport steering wheel, which is heated. You’ll find lots of controls at your fingertips. The crystal gearshift is a touch of elegance, as is the jeweled iDrive dial and engine start-stop button. They’re a $650 option.
You sit very low in the driver’s seat, a position many drivers love, but the seat does not rise high enough for shorter drivers to comfortably see. And the seat belt is not height adjustable.
BMW’s Live Cockpit Pro provides navigation via the iDrive 7.0 system. There is a 10.25-inch touchscreen that operates via the touchpad controller or natural voice commands. The screen is positioned low enough in the dash to not obscure sightlines, but it’s propped into place, not fully integrated into the dash. More important, there is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with crisp graphics as well as a head-up display. Below the screen are air vents and a row of HVAC control buttons.
For connectivity, the wireless charging mat for your phone is up front, near a USB outlet, and easy to access. The wireless charging worked seamlessly: Just set your phone down and let the juices flow. A second USB port is in the covered storage area between the seats. The car also serves as a Wi-Fi hotspot. There’s also CD prep if you want to have that older-school technology retrofitted into the car.
In a quiet cabin, the $3,400 cost to upgrade to the Bowers & Wilkins sound system is worth it for the audiophile. A Harman Kardon surround sound system is standard. There is SiriusXM satellite radio and yes, a volume knob. The system is Apple CarPlay compatible, and the standard Connected package provides real-time traffic information and will help you find parking in some cities. It’s not Android Auto compatible.
The option list also includes $1,080 for individual piano black trim. This is probably a matter of taste. It does glam up an already quite luscious interior. The soft-close doors are also awash in black and red leather with contrast stitching and some bright chrome bits. And there is a standard panoramic moonroof over both rows.
Riding in the Back Seat
The extra 7.9 inches of wheelbase provides more legroom for the rear seats, and although the roof is a bit taller than it is in the coupe, it’s still sloped and that impinges on headroom. Like the front seats, the second row sits low and deep in the car for a fighting chance at comfort, but headroom remains a challenge. I felt a bit squished, and I’m short.
Technically, this is a five-passenger car—we counted the seat belts to be sure because the middle seat is best used by pulling down the center armrest with its flip-out cupholders. The red leather cover on the armrest lifts to reveal a storage area about 1 inch deep. It might not sound like much but can easily store phones, tablets, books, and magazines. Might we suggest the latest issue of MotorTrend?
The backs of the front seats have leather at the top, and the rest is black plastic with a pullout cubby. The center console allows a fair amount of passenger customization. Four-zone climate control means each passenger can control their air vents, adjust the temperature, fan speed, and determine which parts of the body the air will be directed toward. There is also a Max A/C button and buttons to activate the heated seats. There are two more USB outlets for back-seat occupants.
The trunk is surprisingly cavernous. It has a very short cargo net on one side, cordoning off an area the size of a single men’s shoe. Not sure what exactly would go there.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the Gran Coupe offers the looks of a coupe but with an extra set of doors and more room in the second row. Otherwise, it shares the same interior, one that melds sport and luxury in perfect proportion. Yes, the car has a hefty price tag, but when you’re reclining in those Merino leather seats with your hand on the crystal gearshift and you hear that V-8 start to rumble, you might decide it’s worth it.
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