With a longer wheelbase and two more doors, BMW's elegant and sporty 8-series Gran Coupe is set to wow
BMW 840i Gran Coupe takes shine off competitors with stylish design The BMW 8-series Gran Coupe has extensive safety systems and a poised ride, and is hence suitable for long distances. PHOTO: BMW

BMW has wasted no time in building its 8-series range of slinky coupes and saloons.

After the Coupe and Convertible (and their hotter Competition variants), we now have the four-door 8-series Gran Coupe. It is to be expected, since BMW did the same with its 4-series five years ago.

There is a lot to like about the big new Gran Coupe, starting with its stylish design, which could take some shine off the Porsche Panamera and Mercedes four-door GT.

Its tapering glasshouse and swept adaptive LED headlights convey speed and purposefulness, while slim LED tail lights accentuate the car's low, wide stance. It is a clean, arresting attractiveness that few competitors can match.

To create usable space for two more in the Gran Coupe, BMW added 201mm over the Coupe's wheelbase, 30mm to the width and 61mm to the height, the last of which is down to a slightly more upright windscreen.

The Gran Coupe is meant to be a 4+1, but the centre occupant in the rear will have to sit with legs apart to accommodate an extended centre console housing individual rear air-conditioning vents and two USB-C charging ports.

Legroom is sufficient for a coupe, but folks taller than 1.8m will find rear headroom a tad limited.

In the luxurious cockpit, you grip a well-padded three-spoke M steering wheel while your eyes take in information from either a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster or a 10.25-inch infotainment screen.

On a scenic route around Serra de Monchique, just outside the Algarve International Circuit, the Gran Coupe displays a softer yet firmly resilient ride.

Thanks to its longer wheelbase, the car takes the bumps far more readily in its stride, making for a calmer, less frenetic ride. Even large potholes do not elicit a sharp expulsion of breath from passengers.

No doubt its adaptive M suspension helps smoothen things, although you can also choose Sport or Sport+ for harder driving.

Though down on power from the full-fat 4.4-litre V8 in the M850i, the new 3-litre straight-six in the rear-wheel-drive 840i - firing 340hp through an eight-speeder - is a keen revver. It never feels breathless and delivers a spine-tingling roar in the upper ranges.

Out of high-speed corners, a standard-fit differential helps sharpen the handling. The car's brakes always bite down resolutely to shed speed readily.

With extensive safety systems and a poised ride, the 8-series Gran Coupe is a confident partner on long distances. It is slated to arrive in Singapore next month, followed by the all-powerful M8 Gran Coupe next year.