- High power and greater torque
- Pointed style hides massive proportions
- Comfortable and effortless performance
- Performance has a cost
- Token rear seats won’t fit much
Green over tan isn’t a traditional coloring on a German sports car, but the BMW 840i Coupe isn’t exactly your traditional sports car. Long, low and mean, the 840i is a grand tourer with an emphasis on ‘big’ – big in size, big in style and, with 335 horsepower on tap, big power too.
How is it formed? Expect to be impressed.
The BMW 840i makes a striking first impression, especially in the emerald green hue you see here. BMW calls it San Remo Green Metallic, and it’s delightfully a no-cost option. Even if it came with a monetary premium, it would be money well spent in my book for a tint that not only accentuates the big curves of the big coupe (especially those fenders), but also pairs really well with the various highlights. black on this, the xDrive with a pair of M Sport packages.
These packages come with BMW’s Shadowline detailing, which blacks out much of what would otherwise be chrome, including the trim around the windows, headlights and grille. The black and green make a great combo, made a little brighter by the polished two-tone 20-inch wheels, a $1,300 option wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires.
Those wheels fill out the massive fenders and give the car a defined, purposeful look that’s a bit lacking in the 8 Series four-door Gran Coupe flavor. It’s a subtle difference between the two flavors of the same car, but the a more direct line from roof to rear spoiler on the coupe is much cleaner for me, leading to a rear end that’s completely pleated and perforated.
Inside, the 840i follows the patterns of many modern BMWs, a more traditional interior than the radical iX, but eminently comfortable and useful. Really, however, on this particular car, it’s not the layout or the patterns used inside the two long doors that stand out.
No, it’s rather the fair two-tone interior that really opens people’s eyes and gets the most comments. I have never seen such a polarizing interior. I must admit that my first reaction was to back off (I’m generally not a fan of the two-tone), but in a few minutes of research I was quickly won over.
Dark and tan leather frames the cabin and seats, with white inserts providing a striking contrast. Each seat almost looks like a baseball inside a traditional leather glove. It’s not for everyone, maybe not even most, but by the end of my week with this car, I had come to love it. I’m not sure I’d pay the extra $2000 for it, though.
All that flash is topped off, quite literally, with a soft, sueded headliner in the same light cream color that looks and feels fantastic, arching overhead then cutting sharply downward over the rear seats – such as ‘they are. There’s no sunroof here, which is a bonus in my book, as it would only compromise headroom. And, with the light coloring here, everything looks airy without it.
There isn’t much room for much air in those rear seats, however. In fact, there is not much room for it. I put the driver’s seat where I wanted it, then jumped in the back and raised the seat back. The driver’s seat then began to spring back into place, slowly but surely crushing my feet like the trash compactor in Star Wars Episode IV.
I admit I may have screamed a little as I pulled my feet up, straight out of my already trapped shoes, which were summarily crushed under the unstoppable backwards progression of that seat. Suffice it to say, manually move your seat all the way forward before inserting passengers in the back.
These passengers should be short. Not only was there no place for my feet, but my head also had no place to go. Sitting straight, my ear resting firmly on this beautiful sumptuous headliner that ran along the ceiling.
None of this should come as a surprise, and I really don’t blame the coupe. Those back seats are symbolic gestures more than anything. Their most important feature is that they fold up easily to make room for long bags. However, there is no passage for skis or the like.
My first drives in the 840i coupe were long drives on open country roads and even more so on open highways. That’s the sort of thing this car was designed for – clearly, though, BMW engineers had higher speed limits in mind than those provided by American roads.
The 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six is a venerable thing here, available in many BMW models large and small. Here it performs admirably, making 29 mpg on the highway in cruise, its digitally augmented acoustics providing a suitably low rumble when accelerating, increasing in volume and height with speed. The straight-six’s torque builds early and continues to push until you’ve reached the limit of your risk tolerance.
That of course means effortless overtaking in any situation, but if you’re in comfort mode you’ll probably have to grab one of the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, as shifting is naturally lazy. That’s perfectly fine, of course. That’s why these paddles are there.
Cruising over broken asphalt, the chunky BMW offers commendable ride quality, but particularly hard bumps result in a bit of noise and vibration. Blame the 20-inch wheels and tires, which look so good I’m willing to forgive a little harshness here and there.
In general, however, the BMW is calm, poised and quiet. Only the buzz of the exhaust creeps in at high speeds, reminding you that you’re riding something special.
Fire up the BMW 840i in Sport Plus mode and, while it’s not exactly the kind of Jeckyl vs. Hyde transformation some sports cars can exhibit, things get a whole lot more engaging. The character of the coupe remains true, just a little more edgy.
The suspension in Sport mode firms up and offers much more feedback, while the transmission and engine both become much more precise. In manual mode, the gearbox holds any gear up to the rev limiter and shifts gears with brevity. It’s not a dual-clutch box, but it’s quick to give you the cog you want, either.
The steering, too, firms up in Sport Plus, but unfortunately not the feedback. Luckily BMW lets you customize this mode to your liking, meaning it only took a few seconds of fiddling with the iDrive to bring the steering feel back to Comfort, which I found far preferable. .
I headed for the twistiest, bumpiest roads I could find and the 840i did not disappoint in any way. It never felt light on its feet—it’s a 4,012-pound car, remember—but it was always very smooth and planted.
Even when the asphalt deteriorated and the bumps got big, big enough to find the end of the BMW’s suspension effective range, things still felt competent and calm. The coupe never reacted harshly or unpredictably. He started rolling, dragging me with him.
It was only an unexpected squirt of gravel at the top of a fast, blind corner that finally caused the car to exhaust its seemingly endless supply of grip. Even this situation was handled with aplomb. The car slid about six inches, regained traction on the other side and continued on its way. I didn’t even bother to make a steering correction.
While the contrasting leather interior won’t suit everyone, I found BMW’s Live Cockpit Pro system quite intuitive and easy to use. BMW’s infotainment experience continues to evolve and refine. Whether you prefer iDrive, touchscreen, voice, or even gestures, you can do it here. And, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, your phone can get in on the action too.
The digital gauge cluster dynamically reconfigures according to the mode you’re in, while a heads-up display shows the important items on the glass. The heated seats, steering wheel and even the armrests were perfect on a chilly morning, while the Laserlight headlights did a good job of extending those days a bit.
Rates and options
The 2023 BMW 840i xDrive Coupe starts at $87,900. It’s reasonably well-equipped at this price but, as with most things BMW, there are plenty of boxes you can tick from there if you can afford it.
That two-tone interior, for example, is a $2,000 premium, while the Alcantara headliner costs an extra $650. The base driver assistance package, with Active Blind Spot Detection and Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, is a $100 token, but if you want Traffic Jam Assistant for extra help when you’re stuck in traffic, you’ll need to add the $1,700 Driving Assistance Pro package.
Those wheels cost $1,300, $500 for ventilated seats and a final destination charge of $995 means the 840i you see pictured has a total price of $96,595.