Fans of BMW’s silken inline-six engines, take note: There’s a range of new 8 Series variants that will appeal to you. Enter the 840i, a new version of our Design of the Year that packs many of the things we love about the V-8-powered M850i xDrive, minus two cylinders. (The M850i is shown here because BMW has yet to release images of the new versions.)
The engine bay of the 840i—plus its convertible, Gran Coupe, and xDrive all-wheel-drive variants—is filled by a turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6 engine. This unit, the sexily named B58B30M1, produces 335 horsepower and 368 lb-ft. The output is ferried through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
While the brawnier M850i is exclusively available with xDrive, the standard 840i will be the only rear-drive 8 Series sold in the U.S. xDrive is optional and improves off-the-line acceleration. BMW says the zero-to-60 time for the 840i coupe is 4.7 seconds, and it states 4.4 seconds for the 840i xDrive. The 840i convertible accomplishes the sprint in 5.0 seconds (4.6 seconds with xDrive). The Gran Coupe does it in 4.9 seconds (4.6 seconds with xDrive).
All-wheel steering is standard on the xDrive Gran Coupe and available on the rear-drive version. As standard, all six-cylinder 8 Series models roll on 18-inch wheels shod in 245/45R front and 275/40R rear tires. A variety of 19- and 20-inch wheels are available.
For those that like the 8 Series but find M-inspired looks a bit too much, the 840i is the model to choose. While the M Sport appearance package is compulsory on the V-8 8 Series, it will be optional on I-6-powered cars. However, every rear-wheel-drive 840i model gets an M Sport differential, so they’ll deliver sporty handling even without aggressive looks.
Otherwise, the I-6-powered 8 Series models have much of the equipment their V-8 stablemates feature. That includes leather-trimmed sport seats, heated front armrests and steering wheel, adaptive LED headlights, Harman Kardon speakers, a head-up display, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch central display, and iDrive infotainment integrating wireless device charging.
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Options include enhanced driver aids such as adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree top-down parking camera, glass interior controls, a night-vision camera, Bowers & Wilkins audio system, and ventilated front seats with neck warmers available on the convertible. BMW also offers its lavish Individual specification exterior paint colors and interior hides.
Losing two cylinders and two driven wheels makes the 840i the lightest-weight 8 Series, sliding just under two tons with a curb weight of 3,933 pounds. While down on power and acceleration compared to the M850i xDrive, this several-hundred-pound weight reduction might enhance its agility and response. We’ve seen similar changes between V-8 and W-12-powered Bentley models.
Strangely, the 840i Gran Coupe—ostensibly the most manufacturing- and material-intensive version—is the cheapest, with a starting price of $85,895. The two-door coupe begins at $88,895, and convertible at $98,395. Opting for xDrive adds $2,900 to the price of any model. Production of the 840i range is set to begin in July of this year, with customer deliveries slated for September.