When the BMW 6 Series was replaced by the BMW 8 Series in 2018, it aimed to raise the profile of its luxury coupé, convertible and four-door coupé trio. But although it proved a strong sporting coupé, the 8 Series has somehow always felt more like a 5 Series derivative than its name suggests. And now, just over four years on, the 8 Series has had a midlife facelift; though it doesn’t look as if it’ll markedly change the car's status quo.
The interior was always the issue, being impeccable in terms of materials and fit and finish, but just a little too plain and business-like compared to a Lexus LC or Porsche 911, let alone a Bentley Continental GT. That’s just as true today, though one might prefer it to the tech fest that is the new Mercedes SL. It’s also worth keeping in mind the 8 Series is a fair bit less expensive than all its rivals bar the Lexus.
The lack of any major change inside is a blessing in some respects. The multimedia screen has been upgraded from 10.25- to 12.3in, but unlike the updated 3 Series and X5, it still runs BMW's old iDrive software, which means it’s still a paragon of user-friendliness, with logical menus and plenty of physical shortcut buttons. It still looks modern, too, and the physical climate controls are present and very much correct.
Outside, the facelifted 8 Series gains an illuminated grille (which looks nowhere near as chintzy as it sounds), a selection of new wheel options (all 20in in diameter), M-style twin-spar door mirrors for the M850i, and four new paint colours (including the classy San Remo Green you see in the pictures).
The diesel 840d has been dropped, leaving the six-cylinder rear-drive 840i, the four-wheel drive V8 M850i xDrive we’ve driven here, and the fire-breathing M8 Competition. As before, all come as a two-door coupe, four-door Gran Coupe or as a fabric-topped convertible.