BMW 8 Series coupe - Interior & comfort
Beautifully built BMW 8 Series interior is well equipped but some rivals are even better
While the BMW 8 Series doesn't shy away from entertaining the driver, it's even more in its element as a fast, long distance cruiser. Although well insulated against wind noise, it's not quite as hushed as the Mercedes S-Class coupe. It's generally smooth, though, and you'll need to encounter a truly vicious pothole in order to disturb passenger comfort.
The interior is everything it should be of a car that costs this much. Build quality seems peerless; every material feels pleasant to the touch, and some – such as the crystal finish to the gear selector and iDrive control wheel – add a real wow factor without lapsing into tackiness. The only improvement would be an interior design that was more distinct from those in models lower down the BMW range.
You’ll also need to be happy with leather upholstery, because both the standard upholstery and the expensive optional BMW Individual choices are trimmed in it. Some rivals are now offering eco-friendly and vegan non-leather options.
BMW 8 Series dashboard
Some will think it a shame that the design isn't as innovative or daring as inside the BMW i8, but this is a very different sector of the market in which tastes are often rather more conservative. As such, the look is classy and organised without being revolutionary, while the 12.3-inch digital instrument panel is suitably hi-tech. Many will feel the graphics used aren’t as pretty as Audi's rival Virtual Cockpit system, though.
The latest version of BMW's infotainment system opens with a 'homepage' that provides links to the most frequently accessed features by way of customisable 'tiles'. Once you've set it to your preferences, it's a very slick system indeed. The gesture control system works well, too; you move your thumb left or right to switch between radio station or music tracks, or rotate it on the screen to adjust the volume. When it comes to use when the car is in motion, BMW's is one of the most intuitive touchscreen systems around. It's a little disappointing, though, that Android Auto compatibility isn't available.
Every 8 Series is lavishly equipped, with only the most specialist of features reserved for the options list. Outside, you'll find 20-inch alloy wheels on every model and full LED headlamps as standard, which are the slimmest ever fitted to a BMW. Inside, a 'live cockpit' 12.3-inch digital instrument panel is standard, as is a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and colour head up display.
As well as all the heated, leather seats, electric adjustment and ambient lighting functions you might expect, it comes as no surprise that a long list of driver assistance features are fitted. Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is standard and has the ability to detect cyclists in your path. Along with adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist, the technology forms the basis of BMW's 'Personal Co-Pilot' system, developed to make motorway driving safer and easier.
BMW's 'laser light' headlights are available, along with Parking Assistant, which can identify suitable parking spaces and automatically maneuver the car into them. The M Sport Technic Package is tempting, and likely to become sought-after on used examples. It includes larger M Sport brakes and a limited-slip differential, as well as M Sport-specific styling touches to the steering wheel, seatbelts and headlining.