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BMW 8-series coupe

BMW 8-series coupe

2018 BMW 8-series coupe

The luxurious new two-plus-two coupe is planned to return to the  BMW 8-series coupe line-up in 2018 after an almost two decade hiatus as part of what company bosses describe as the biggest model offensive in the company’s history. The  Concept 8 Series is being displayed this weekend at the Concorso d’Eleganza on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, and is the first in a series of  ultra-premium cars from BMW.

The silhouette of the BMW Concept 8 Series sits low and powerfully on the road. Precise contours and exciting, muscular surfaces promise a dynamic driving experience from the very first glance. The kidney grille flares out as it descends to emphasise the vehicle’s low centre of gravity while the headlights stare resolutely onto the road. Two expressively designed character lines extend to the ultra sporty rear. With its low and extremely broad appearance, it reinforces the dominant overall impression.

The innovative features of the BMW Concept 8 Series open up a whole new world of driving experience. The new user interface design is the logical step into the digital world and presents a modern interpretation of the previously round, analogue display instruments. As in motorsports, drivers have the most important information directly in view, and are thus able to concentrate fully on the task of driving. Digital experience and sheer driving pleasure merge into an unprecedented symbiosis, thus creating an entirely new driving sensation.

BMW 8-series coupe

Design with new BMW 8-series coupe

Speaking at the  Concept 8 Series unveiling, BMW board member Ian Robertson said: “We want to bring more cars into the upper luxury segment. We have already announced we are in the development phase of the X7. We are working on other products as we feel there is a lot of opportunity there. The new BMW 8-series is part of this. In the next couple of years we will see the most comprehensive change in the history of BMW.

Set to challenge the likes of the  Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe at the very top of BMW’s current 12 model strong line-up, the reborn 8 Series will indirectly replace the existing third-generation 6 Series, which is due to cease production in coupe and convertible guises after being superseded by a new fourth-generation liftback model in the form of the upcoming  6 Series GT later this year.

But there’s also much to tie this concept to BMW’s present-day lineup. Protruding taillights evoke the daring look of the i8 while the mammoth cutouts in the front and rear bumpers recall the aggressively scalloped M2. The current 5-series wears similarly gimmicky trapezoidal exhaust finishers. The 8er’s edge will surely soften when it reaches production, but the concept gives a clear indication of what’s to come.

BMW 8-series coupe

2018 BMW 8 Series interior

“The BMW 8-series will be the next model in the expansion of our luxury car offering and will raise the benchmark in the segment,” explained BMW chairman Harald Krüger. “It will demonstrate that razor sharp dynamics and modern luxury car go hand-in-hand, in the process strengthening our claim to leadership in the class.”

Though it will sit beside the 7-series atop the lineup, the 8 won’t be remotely as spacious. It’s snug, with a high center console and low seating position making the interior feel far smaller than it is. Nothing about its control layouts or detailing indicates any sort of interface revolution, though the iDrive controller and gear selector are made of Swarovski glass. Seeing as the jewelry company’s crystals made it into the headlights of the Mercedes-Benz S-class, it wouldn’t surprise us if BMW uses them in the production model. After all, Munich’s product planning often happens in Stuttgart, and vice versa.

The interior blends some familiar BMW design elements with some new ones. There are lashings of carbon fiber, diamond stitched leather sports seats, a large sporty steering wheel, BMW’s iDrive infotainment system and a digital gauge cluster – replacing traditional analogue gauges.

Powertrain

This next-generation 8 will be more modestly cylindered than BMW’s first: There will be an 840i with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six and an 850i powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8—though even the six, which makes up to 335 horsepower in today’s BMWs, will surpass the output of the original 850i’s 12-cylinder. While it must be tempting for BMW to go after the Mercedes-Benz S65, we expect the minuscule take rate of 12-cylinder S-classes will keep BMW from bothering. And we expect the 8’s prestigious positioning to preclude the offering of a hybrid model. Europe will get a diesel, but we won’t. ZF’s eight-speed automatic will be the only transmission choice, and all 8s but the base six-cylinder cars will be all-wheel drive.

BMW 8-series coupe

Entry-level BMW 8-series models could come with a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine but the majority of sales will probably be more powerful 3.0-litre petrol and diesel versions. Those looking for a bit more oomph should be able to pick either an eight-cylinder engine or a range-topping 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12. A high-performance M8 variant could be released further down the car’s lifeline, rivalling the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe. Models could also be offered with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system and a plug-in hybrid model could also be developed.

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