The next step in Munich’s range expansion has been previewed this week in the form of the BMW 8-Series Coupe concept car . Due to launch in 2018 with other bodystyles in the pipeline, the 8-Series will reportedly form the replacement for the 6-Series.
BMW also previewed its M8 performance flagship and the production 8-Series with a camouflaged M8 prototype driving around the Nurburgring as part of the lead into the famous Nurburgring 24-hour race. The return of the 8-Series badge comes almost 20 years after the first-generation model was retired, with just over 30,000 were built.
“The number 8 has always represented the pinnacle of sports performance and exclusivity at BMW,” explains Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG Harald Krüger.
“The forthcoming BMW 8 Series Coupe will demonstrate that razor-sharp dynamics and modern luxury can go hand-in-hand. This will be the next model in the expansion of our luxury-car offering and will raise the benchmark for coupes in the segment. In the process, we will strengthen our claim to leadership in the luxury class.”
The 8-Series concept car’s styling is definitely more Aston Martin and Ferrari than 5-Series. The headlights are aggressive and the classic BMW kidney grille design has been modified to create much more of a snout than in previous stages of its design. Combined with the low-slung roofline, long bonnet and overall sleek silhouette, the 8-Series concept is styled unlike any BMW before it. BMW’s Air Breathers are featured, which distribute air from the front through the side to enhance stability. The rear combines tailights reminiscent of the i8 sports car, with large triangular vents on each side.
The interior of the BMW 8-Series Coupe concept car is a standout, and follows the same design themes set by the exterior. BMW claims that the 8-Series’ interior focuses on driving, and appears quite minimalist as a result. BMW say the 8-Series’ interior “actively explores the contrasts between emotion and engineering, dynamic flair and luxury; its form suggests supreme sportiness, while exquisite materials exude exclusivity and high-grade design.”
We would say that that 8-Series Coupe concept interior looks suitably high class; from the extensive use of leather around the cabin – the seats, doors and dashboard are covered in it – to the carbon fibre centre console, alcantara steering wheel, jet fighter dials and exquisite details such as the centre air vents make it a step above any BMW cabin that has come before it. It also gives a clue as to what the production model will look like, with production elements such as BMW’s iDrive infotainment system present.
The high performance M8 was previewed at the Nurburgring just after the concept car was revealed ahead of the famous annual 24-hour race. Even behind extensive camouflaging, the M8’s details are plain to see. Larger intakes, bonnet vents, even larger brakes and tailpipes hint at the M8’s performance potential.
“The conception and development of the standard BMW 8 Series and the M model run in parallel,” explains Frank van Meel, President BMW M Division. “The future BMW M8 will build on the genes of the 8 Series and augment its DNA with added track ability and generous extra portions of dynamic sharpness, precision and agility. It all flows into a driving experience that bears the familiar BMW M hallmarks and satisfies our customers’ most exacting requirements.”
Now pitched as a 7-Series (as opposed to a 5-Series) coupe though riding on the same CLAR platform as both, the BMW 8-Series Coupe will compete against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe as a large premium alternative to the usual luxury sedans, yet also other grand tourers such as the Aston Martin DB11.
BMW has trademarked names ranging from 825i to 860i, as well as M8 and M850i, suggesting that there will be a wide range of drivetrain choice when it launches. Drivetrains themselves are currently unknown, but we’d bet on everything from the 2.0-litre turbo in the 1/3/4/5-Series to even the twin-turbo V12 in the 7-Series being used, with both rear- and all-wheel drive being available.
The BMW 8-Series Coupe is due for production in 2018, and Chasing Cars will bring you every bit of information regarding the car when it is announced.
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