An 8 Series development car reveals production details…
BMW’s new flagship coupé has been spied testing in both coupe and convertible forms; it’s due to go on sale in 2018
The new BMW 8 Series will be produced in coupé and convertible forms to rival the two-door Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Bentley Continental GT and their drop-top siblings, and latest shots of the coupé show production design cues ahead of a late 2018 launch.
The brand’s upcoming flagship model will be a two-door coupé version of the 7 Series saloon, in much the same way as the 4 Series and 3 Series are related, but will get a significantly more sporting design. Large trapezoidal exhausts at the rear and intricate headlight clusters with familiar BMW motifs inside link the car to the rest of the range, despite the brand’s aim to separate more upmarket cars’ branding from the rest of the range.
The latest shots show both M Sport and non-M Sport variants of the car, suggested by the more aggressive front bumper and sharper exhausts on one car, and more subtle, elegant ones with more subtle wheels on the other.
As shown by previous photographs, the coupé will sport a rakish rear windowline, while the convertible will ditch this due to its electric folding fabric roof, which feeds into a horizontal boot panel.
However, aside from these changes, the 8 Series siblings look identical, with long bonnets, tailgates that flick upwards and trapezoidal exhaust surrounds.
Being so closely related to the 7 Series, it’s likely that the 8 Series will share naming conventions and engines with its saloon sibling. This means that an iPerformance-badged plug-in hybrid will feature in the range, while the entry-level 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel found in the 730d will be used in an 830d. There will also be a more performance-orientated 4.4-litre V8 from the 750i xDrive, accompanied by all-wheel drive. A V12-engined model will come later in the car’s life cycle.
The most hardcore variant of the 8 Series will come in M8 form, with its own more aggressive bodywork. This model is likely to be powered by an uprated version of the latest M5’s 592bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine and share the same ‘M xDrive’ four-wheel drive system.
Inside, the 8 Series models will feature the same top-end technologies found in the 7 Series, including the latest and next-generation semi-autonomous features.
The 8 Series coupé and convertible come as part of a BMW range shake up, in which they will indirectly replace the 6 Series coupé, which will finish production in 2018. The 6 Series convertible will then be replaced by the 8 Series convertible the following year.
The final 6 Series variant, the Gran Coupé, despite running out at the same time as the convertible, is unconfirmed for replacement but could be renewed. Meanwhile, the 5 Series GT has been replaced by the 6 Series GT.
It might not be the end of the road for the coupé and convertible 6 Series variants, though, as BMW is still undecided as to whether direct replacements for the two will be introduced.
Additional reporting by Greg Kable