The first BMW 8 Series Coupe prototype reviews have started to land as the brand new luxury sports car nears the end of its rigorous testing in Wales.
All of the new model’s drive and suspension systems are on test during the Wales drives, with a particular focus on the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe, described by BMW as a “particularly intensive” example of the car’s performance potential.
Under the distinctive contour-enhancing monochrome paint job of the 8 Series prototype there lies the beating heart of a newly redeveloped V8 engine that delivers its power via state-of-the-art four-wheel drive technology and an active rear axle differential lock.
Acticle roll stabilisation, adaptive M suspension and Integral Active Steering all help to deliver exceptional handling for a supremely comfortable drive and the promise of “fascinating sportiness”.
BMW say the most striking features coming from the suspension and engine are a result of their broad characteristics, including a precision level of torque and engine noise that allows for a relaxed drive.
Switch to Sport or Sport+ for more dynamic engine noise and power delivery, courtesy of the eight-cylinder power unit, a first-time feature in the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe.
The four-wheel drive system, electronically controlled dampers and Dynamic Stability Control all adjust to the driving mode too, with a noticeable emphasis on the rear wheels and maximum traction for apex acceleration when coming out of a bend.
Markus Flasch, BMW 8 Series project manager, said: “The thing that always impresses when test driving the new BMW 8 Series Coupe is its adaptability. Whether a driver expresses his or her wishes with regard to comfort and sportiness using the accelerator pedal or by pressing a button, the vehicle immediately adapts perfectly to each setting.”
The high stiffness of the suspension and body shell, combined with a low overall centre of gravity, promise to deliver dynamic handling in the BMW 8 Series Coupe, with added features to ensure agility and direct steering.
In the BMW 850i xDrive Coupe, this comes from capabilities like active roll stability and Integral Active Steering as standard.
You don’t need to be on the test track, either – the final stages of the vehicle’s development in Wales have demonstrated the electronically controlled dampers’ ability to adapt to uneven road surfaces, delivering maximum wheel stability over short stretches of rough ground to maintain complete contact with the road.
From rough roads to test tracks
Interestingly, you can only buy the BMW 8 Series Coupe with mixed tyres, with wider wheels on the back, and with high cambers on all four wheels.
Jos Van As, head of suspension application at BMW, explained: “This gave us the possibility when coordinating the suspension control systems to exploit the potential of the wide rear wheels to attain particularly sporty handling characteristics.
“The higher camber values on all wheels and specifically tuned elastokinematics result in the realisation of exceptionally high cornering speeds prior to the intervention of the electronics.”
All of that means that as well as covering rough roads well, the car can be driven on racetracks with active Dynamic Stability Control – which should make for some pretty exciting BMW 8 Series Coupe prototype reviews in the months to come, too.