New BMW 8-Series: A question of sport

BMW’s 8-Series is more of a grand tourer than an out-and-out sports car (Image: NC)Their marketing people got it into their heads a long time ago that sporty sells, so almost everything made of metal and fitted with four wheels can have the label.Sports utility vehicles are a perfect example: there's not a great deal of sportiness about a boxy Chelsea tractor but it's still called an SUV.Coupés can genuinely be described as sporty - although that doesn't always necessarily make them sports cars.Take this new BMW 8-Series. Related articles The German firm describes it as the latest in its "long and illustrious history of making iconic and sensational sports cars" but the 8 is no 507, M1 or Z8.In fact, it's a lot closer to what one company executive described as "a gentleman's tourer" than an out-and-out sports car.The 8-Series is very much a tourer, with a design that reflects the feeling this isn't a hardcore machine but something built for taking on longer trips that involve as much motorway driving as they do twistier B roads.The not-inconsiderable size and coupé silhouette are sophisticated and imposing but the swoop of the roof slightly jars the eyeline, as ....

Related articles However, as this is a BMW, there is a bias towards the rear wheels in regular driving conditions that is consistent with the company's proud heritage for rear-drive cars.The power, traction and swift gearchanges all contribute to make this 8-Series an accomplished car on the road.Factor in BMW's usual high standard of handling and it adds up to a pretty rewarding drive: there's plenty of grip, it feels stable and nicely balanced, and different driving modes mean that there's a setting for most driving conditions.There's also an active steering feature that means the rear wheels steer slightly, to help reduce the turning circle and give better stability when changing lanes or cornering at high speed.As befits a luxury car, the 8's cabin is a very comfortable place in which to spend time, cosseted by the finest materials. The sports seats are extremely comfortable and foster a sense of relaxation - unless you're sitting in the rear. The 8-Series is described as a 2+2, but the +2 doesn't mean two adults, because nobody taller than 3ft will fit in them.They're best viewed as extra storage space or, when folded, a way of increasing the load capacity of ....

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