2021 BMW 8-Series

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
December 14, 2020

Buying tip

The Gran Coupe is an easy winner here for most uses, and we’d probably pony up for the M850i rather than go all-out in the M8.

features & specs

840i Convertible
840i Coupe
840i Gran Coupe
22 city / 29 hwy
23 city / 30 hwy
22 city / 29 hwy

The 2021 BMW 8-Series is a gorgeous statement piece that strikes an enviable balance between performance and usability.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 BMW 8-Series? What does it compare to?

The 2021 BMW 8-Series splits the difference between sports car and luxury cruiser, with the svelte 8-Series Gran Coupe serving as the happy medium ground.

Shop the 8-Series Gran Coupe against the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT and Audi RS7, while the convertible and coupe square off against the Mercedes S-Class, Porsche 911, and Lexus LC. 

Review continues below

Is the 2021 BMW 8-Series a good car?

The 8-Series is an exceptionally broad lineup, but we base our 7.0 out of 10 rating on the most popular—the Gran Coupe. The stylish four-door blends performance and attention-grabbing looks with a dose of practicality. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 BMW 8-Series?

Minor updates mark 2021 for the majority of the 8-Series range, including newly standard lane-departure warnings balanced by the deletion of a formerly available night vision system. 

The 8-Series coupes as coupe, convertible, or Gran Coupe—really a four-door with a low-slung roofline. There’s not an ugly choice here, both inside and out. M8 coupes and convertibles have been dropped for 2021, leaving only the M8 Gran Coupe as the $130,000-plus flagship of the lineup. 

Power options range start with the 3.0-liter turbo-6 in the 840i and move to the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 in the M850i before topping out at the 617-hp version of the V-8 in the pricey M8 Competition. Base 840i versions send power to the rear wheels while others shuffle tons of grunt to all four corners. Fuel moves through the powertrain at a similar pace, though the 25 mpg combined from the 840i Coupe isn’t terrible. 

Predictably, there’s no sloth in this lineup, with 0-60 mph sprints from 4.7 seconds for the base 840i slice to a staggering 3.0 seconds flat in the M8 Competition. An 8-speed automatic delivers power; don’t look for a manual gearbox here. 

The 8-Series is beautifully trimmed inside with complex tech highlighted by a 10.3-inch touchscreen at the top of the dash. Surprisingly, the best collision-avoidance tech including adaptive cruise control and a traffic jam assistant costs extra; it’s like paying for wi-fi at a high-end hotel. 

How much does the 2021 BMW 8-Series cost?

Figure just shy of $87,000 for a base 840i Gran Coupe, with two-door coupes running another $3,000 more and convertibles tacking on around $10,000. Realistically, don’t look for an 8-Series in a dealer’s inventory for much less than six figures, especially if you pop for the M850i or the full-boat M8 Gran Coupe. 

For day-to-day use, an 840i xDrive Gran Coupe pairs sensibile all-wheel drive and four-door convenience with gorgeous style for around $100,000 with luxurious must-haves such as optional paint, interior trim, and driver assistance gear. Or up your budget by a mere $20,000 and take home a nicely-equipped M850i. 

Where is the 2021 BMW 8-Series made?

In Germany.


2021 BMW 8-Series


Wide and menacing, the 8-Series makes the most of its mass.

Is the 2021 BMW 8-Series a good-looking car?

To our eyes, the 8-Series range is undeniably attractive. BMW does little to hide this car’s size, which gives considerable on-road presence. We give the lineup a 9 out of 10 for style. 

Gran Coupes are the most conventional with their four-door profile, but coupes and convertibles draw the most attention. M850i and M8 have sportier bits that can be a little over the top, especially some of the optional wheel choices.

Inside, the 8-Series channels its long-gone ‘90s predecessor with a boxy center stack. Of course, we’re a fifth of the way into the 21st century, so a 10.3-inch touchscreen now tops the dash. This interior works best in lighter or bolder hues; skip the coal mine black.

Review continues below

2021 BMW 8-Series


Strong engines catapult the 8-Series forward with giggle-inducing authority.


Is the BMW 8-Series 4WD?

All but the base 840i shuffle power to all four corners. 

How fast is the BMW 8-Series?

Every 8-Series is plenty fast, and they have a comfortable ride and adept handling that combine for an 8 out of 10 on our scale. For its size and accompanying heft, the 8-Series is remarkably adept. 

Base 840is make impressive use of their 335-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo-6, but the real fun here starts with the M850i. Its 523-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 is worth the upgrade for its sound and its performance. It slices the 840i’s 4.7-second 0-60 mph sprint to a mere 3.7 seconds. 

The M8 is pumped up with a 600-hp version of the V-8 in base form or 617 hp with the optional Competition Package. Look for 60 mph to pass by in just 3.0 seconds, plus a top speed as high as 189 mph with the optional M Driver’s Package. 

The 840i and M850i versions are better suited to daily driver use with their comfortable suspension tuning. Opt for the active steering system that turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the fronts below 55 mph to make this big car feel more nimble.

The only 8-Series really suited to track use is the M8, though don’t plan on seeing too many at your local course. The M8 has additional cooling and a more buttoned-down suspension that can ride stiffly in town with optional upsized wheels.

Braking is forceful across the range, helped by massive calipers and discs. Given these cars will tip the scales at around 4,500 pounds with passengers and fuel aboard, we’ll take all the brake power we can get. Carbon-ceramic brakes are optional on the M8.

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2021 BMW 8-Series

Comfort & Quality

The 8-Series is a big car with small-car space, though it’s gorgeous inside.

Any car with coupe or convertible in the name isn’t likely to pamper rear-seat riders, and that’s the case here. We award points for plush front seats and beautiful materials, but we dock one for subpar rear-seat room regardless of body style. The 8-Series rates 6 out of 10 for comfort. 

No 8 is small; two-doors stretch about 191 inches between their bumpers, while the Gran Coupe is a massive 200-inch-long behemoth that will have you scouting for big parking spots. All that girth doesn’t translate to much interior space, though. Rear-seat riders will find limited leg and head room. 

The cockpit is wonderfully arrayed, though the infotainment system can intimidate at first glance.

Review continues below

2021 BMW 8-Series


The BMW 8-Series has not been crash tested.

How safe is the BMW 8-Series?

Don’t look for a rating here any time soon, though we have high hopes that the 8-Series will hold up well. 

BMW builds every 8-Series with automatic emergency braking that can stop for pedestrians, adaptive LED headlights, and lane-departure warnings. Additional gear is packaged in the Driving Assistance Professional Package that bundles adaptive cruise control and a traffic jam assistant that allows for limited lower-speed hands-free driving costs $2,800.


2021 BMW 8-Series


The 2021 BMW 8-Series wants for little in the features department.

Which BMW 8-Series should I buy?

You’re likely set on which body style you want, though we favor the Gran Coupe for its stealthy good looks and the limited practicality added by its rear doors. 

Base 840is cost about $87,000—but add a few grand for less to get the 840i Coupe and another $10,000 to step up to the Convertible. All-wheel drive tacks on another $2,000. By that point, the extra $21,000 BMW wants for the M850i might be somewhat more justifiable. Hey, it’s your money. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 BMW 8-Series?

The whole-hog M8 Competition Package Gran Coupe—last year’s M8 droptop and two-door are gone—runs about $131,000. Extra-cost paint, leather, audio, carbon-ceramic brakes, and other features can nudge that nearly $170,000.

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2021 BMW 8-Series

Fuel Economy

Gas mileage is the last thing in this review—and likely the last thing on 8-Series drivers' minds.

Is the 2021 BMW 8-Series good on gas?

With all this power, do you really expect a frugal car? We rate the 8-Series at 4 out of 10 for its fuel economy. 

The miserly choice here is the 840i. With rear-wheel drive, the EPA says to expect 23 mpg city, 30 highway, 25 combined for the Coupe. Gran Coupe and Convertible versions slice 1 mpg city and 1 mpg highway, while all-wheel drive drops figures to 20/27/23 mpg regardless of body.

That’s not bad, but it’s the end of the good news. The M850i will be lucky to top 20 mpg combined in real-world use, while the M8 is a 17-mpg guzzler. 

Premium fuel is required across the line, of course.

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Styling 9
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 6
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