Sports Cars

2019 BMW 8 Series Coupe: Back from the dead and lookin' good

You can ditch the key fob entirely and rely on your phone, and that's just the start of what makes this car cool.

BMW

Enthusiasts and BMW buyers alike have been clamoring for a new 8 Series, and BMW has finally seen fit to humor them. The automaker has been teasing this car for the better part of a year, but now it's finally here, and it's looking good.

One slick coupe

Originally previewed in the Concept 8 Series last May, the 2019 BMW 8 Series is a sharp-dressed coupe. It looks comfortable in a way that the old 6 Series coupe never did. BMW's latest design language is on display, its mixture of aggressive edges and soft curves playing well off each other. I'm a big fan of the rear end, with its exaggerated rear diffuser, massive tailpipe outlets and thin taillights.

There's some pretty interesting tech outside the car. Standard equipment includes LED headlights with BMW's LaserLight tech, which shines lasers on a phosphor that then provides the illumination. The underbody is almost completely covered to reduce drag, and active slats on the body help channel air where it's needed, when it's needed. If you want to drop the center of gravity a smidge, a carbon fiber roof is available.

The interior is also littered with BMW's latest kit. It's very obviously driver focused, with a large center console separating driver and passenger. Merino leather sport seats are standard, as is a 50/50 split folding rear seat. Ambient lighting is also standard with a funky new "Dynamic" function that pulsates the light for various reasons, like when receiving a call.

BMW says the 8 Series' headlights are its thinnest yet, which is important to somebody, maybe?

BMW

Tech, tech and more tech

In terms of tech, the gauge cluster runs BMW's new Operating System 7.0, which was previewed earlier this year and also finds a home in the new X5 and X7. BMW's latest version of the iDrive infotainment system is present, offering both touch capability and a redundant physical controller down by the gear selector. The standard audio system has 11 speakers, but if that's not enough, there are two optional upgrades -- a 16-speaker Harman Kardon system, or the range-topping Bowers & Wilkins setup with 16 illuminated speakers and surround-sound tech.

If you're keen on safety tech, autobrake with pedestrian detection is standard. Full-speed adaptive cruise control is available, and that can be combined with active lane control to help reduce tedium on long highway drives. Parking sensors are standard, as is parallel-parking assist and a 360-degree camera system.

BMW's Digital Key tech can be used to ditch the fob entirely in favor of a smartphone. It relies on near-field communication tech, and once it's set up, all you need to do is hold the phone to the door handle and it'll lock or unlock. Place the phone in its specific tray and you can start the car, too.

Fun fact: The 8 Series' front seats are also the second-row seats in the new X7, albeit with a few tweaks.

BMW

Hustle from the start

The first model available at launch will be the M850i xDrive, which relies on a tweaked version of BMW's 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. It now puts out 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. The transmission can use navigation data to determine optimal shift times and when to make the most of the standard stop-start system. A dual-mode sport exhaust is standard, as is launch control.

Further bolstering the car's handling cred is a standard adaptive suspension that can adjust damping on the fly, as well as a four-wheel-steering system that reduces the turning radius at low speeds while improving handling at high speeds. Active sway bars are optional.

The 2019 BMW 8 Series goes on sale this fall, and pricing will be announced closer to its release date.

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