BMW 8 Series: M Sport variant offers best glimpse of M8 design
BMW is ramping up development of its 8 Series…
BMW’s new flagship coupé has been spied testing in both coupé and convertible forms; it’s due to go on sale in 2018
The new BMW 8 Series has been spotted in its lightest camouflage as company engineers subject the car to the final phase of testing before it is revealed in 2018.
Due to be produced in coupé and convertible forms as a rival to the two-door Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Bentley Continental GT as well as their drop-top siblings, the 8 Series will go on sale in the UK in November next year.
BMW’s upcoming flagship model will be a two-door coupé version of the 7 Series saloon, in much the same way that the 4 Series and 3 Series are related, but it 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 line-up.
The most recent sighting shows an M Sport variant, with a more aggressive front bumper and sharper exhausts. This also offers the best insight into the look of the following M8. Earlier in the year, other variants have been seen with more subtle wheels and smoother bumpers.
All variants of the coupé sport a rakish rear window line, while the convertible ditches this due to its electric folding fabric roof, which feeds into a horizontal boot panel.
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. The 8 Series line-up will also likely include the more performance-oriented 4.4-litre V8 in the 750i xDrive, accompanied by all-wheel drive. A V12-engined model will come later in the 8 Series’ 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, 8 Series models will feature the same top-end technologies found in the 7 Series, including the latest and next-generation semi-autonomous functions.
As part of BMW’s range shake-up, the 8 Series coupé will indirectly replace the 6 Series coupé, which will end production in 2018, while the 6 Series convertible will then be indirectly 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 6 Series coupé and convertible variants, though, as BMW is still undecided as to whether direct replacements for the two will be introduced.
Additional reporting by Greg Kable
Source: Autocar Online