EARLIER this year we were first to reveal news of BMW’s forthcoming range rejig – our report in Issue 1,425 confirmed the brand’s plans to reinvent its 6 Series as a Porsche 911-fighting sports car. At the same time, we spilled the beans on the brand’s new flagship 8 Series – a car aimed squarely at the Mercedes S-Class Coupe. Now, our spies have caught the big Beemer testing, and our exclusive images show how the new car could look. Our story in June uncovered BMW’s plans to bring back the 8 Series as a large, luxurious grand tourer. That project had been previewed by the four-door BMW CS Concept back in 2007, but was killed off only a year later when the global recession hit.
These latest spy shots show it’s back on the agenda, revealing a large coupe bodystyle, with the BMW kidney grille and huge alloy wheels. It’s clearly a two-door car, with long front and rear overhangs, plus a cut-off bootlid similar to the current 6 Series. Our exclusive images allow us to visualise some of the key styling cues, giving us a taste of what’s in store. Details on the luxurious new interior aren’t quite as clear, though. The low, sloping roofline would suggest a smaller rear cabin than in the S-Class Coupe, but the new BMW is likely to match that car for tech and connectivity.
It’s almost certain the brand will use the 8 Series to debut a host of new technologies, including semi-autonomous drive features and an update to its iDrive system. WiFi will be standard, while the 8 Series is expected to be among the first BMWs to feature Apple CarPlay. The range will sit alongside the current 7 Series saloon, and use that car’s platform and lightweight carbon core as a base. That should make it more agile than the Mercedes, while also helping boost fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions. Engine options will be confirmed nearer to launch, but a range of six and eight-cylinder units is likely.
In late March, BMW applied to strengthen its control of a string of 8 Series names by registering 825,830, 835, 845, 850, 860 and M850 with global intellectual property regulators. Bosses have also applied to register M8, while xDrive all-wheel drive could also feature as an option. In addition to the range of high-power petrol and diesel engines, electrification is almost certain to feature. A plug-in version of the 7 Series is already on sale, and the 8 Series is expected to lift that car’s system unchanged. It’ll manage 0-62mph in around five seconds, with a near 30-mile EV range. In terms of price, the 8 Series will be the pinnacle of BMW’s model range, meaning an entry-level version could start at £70,000.