Including the revival of a 30-year old nameplate.
It’s officially here! After a lengthy teaser campaign comprising two concepts and a range of teaser shots, the new BMW 8 Series has been unveiled at the 2018 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, to celebrate the M8 GTE taking part in the historic race. The new 8 Series Coupe forms a new halo for the BMW brand, hoping to re-inject dynamism into the German marque once famed for producing the finest driver’s cars in the world. Ahead of its showroom debut later this year, here are ten things to know about the new luxury coupe from BMW.
BMW hasn’t kept this one a secret, confirming along with the original 8 Series Concept that there would be an M version. As to what’s going to be powering it, expect similar running gear to the new M5, with at least 600 hp being developed by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, channeling power to all 4 wheels through BMW’s M-xDrive system. Expect the M8 in its various forms to do battle with the Mercedes-AMG GT four-door and AMG S63 Coupe.
Even though it’s debuted in coupe form, the 8 Series will get a 4-door coupe version too in the form of the 8 Series Gran Coupe. We already know this will get an M version too, as confirmed by the M8 Gran Coupe concept. The 8 Series will also spawn a convertible. Though BMW has yet to confirm this through official channels, test mules have been spotted showing the convertible with a retractable soft-top.
It’s no Ford GT, with a built-in FIA-spec roll cage, but the 8 Series in road-going specification was developed alongside the M8 GTE racecar. It wasn’t just the forthcoming M8 either, but the chassis of the standard 8 Series too, so expect it to be one of the most engaging chassis BMW has produced in quite some time. It also means the 8 Series benefits from lightweight construction thanks to aluminum, magnesium, and carbon fiber reinforced plastic in its construction.
Nearly three decades ago, in 1989, the very first BMW 8 Series debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The high end coupe remained in production for 10 years, and was one of the most iconic BMWs ever produced – slotting in higher than the 6 Series and offering greater refinement, luxury, and importantly, performance.
In much the same way as the E31 8 Series signaled the end of the 6 Series, so too does the G15 8 Series. Though it isn’t actually a replacement for the 6 Series Coupe, once again targeting higher levels of luxury and performance, it has however heralded the end of the 6 Series Coupe, Gran Coupe, and Convertibles, with the only 6 remaining being the 6 Series GT – which isn’t anything like the 6 Coupe.
The original 8 Series was the first road-going vehicle to mate a V12 engine to a 6-speed manual gearbox, and it also offered no fewer than 8 cylinders under the hood. The new one doesn’t have a V12, or at least not yet, but you won’t find fewer than 6 here. In a world full of downsizing, the smallest engine the 8 Series will feature is a 3.0-liter straight 6 diesel engine. We’re unlikely to get that in the USA, but the 4.4-liter V8 gasoline motor is definitely coming, meaning the 8 Series is exclusive and uniquely anti-downsizing.
Though BMW is famed for its rear-wheel drive vehicles providing exceptional driving dynamics, the 8 Series doesn’t offer rear-wheel drive at all. Both the 840d and M850i are solely available with xDrive all-wheel drive, meaning the 8 Series isn’t designed with smoky hoonery in mind, but rather control and precision. However, it remains rear-biased to ensure the hallowed dynamics of BMW remain in tact despite the extra layer of control.
BMW’s N63 engine has been a staple for the brand’s high-end machinery for some time, featuring in the 5, 6, and 7 Series as well as the X5 and X6. Tuned by BMW M, the N63 has been used now in two generations of M5. But the latest Technical Update (N63B44T3) for the 8 Series takes a 68 horsepower bump in power (now at 523 hp), while emission performance has been optimized to comply with Euro 6d-TEMP emissions standards. Torque is an impressive 553 lb-ft, enabling a 0-62 mph sprint of just 3.7 seconds.
If you’ve been on the internet at all lately, you’ll likely have seen the M8 GTE being compared to all manner of cruise ships owing to its seemingly large dimensions. But the 8 Series is actually fairly compact. Measuring in at 190.9 inches in length, the 8 Series is shorter than several other vehicles on the market, including the Volvo S90 (195.4 inches), the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan (193.8 inches), and only 8.3 inches longer than the 4 Series Coupe (182.6 inches). There’s also active all wheel steering to help it handle better and maneuver easier at any speed.
This isn’t going to really be a game-changing fact, but one to impress your friends with at the bar. The 8 Series features the slimmest headlights of any BMW produced yet. LED headlights are standard, but available as an option are Adaptive LED headlights and BMW Laserlight with Selective Beam, providing a high beam range of up to nearly 2000 feet.