The inevitable has just become, well, inevitable. News of an M8 has followed in the wake of the return of the 8 Series BMW, as well as a race car version for Le Mans.
News of the new 8 Series has only just surfaced, yet here we are looking at prototype photos of the M8, which is already camouflaged and blasting around the Nurburgring in Germany.
The BMW M8 will be developed in parallel with the new 8 Series grand tourer, which is set to hit production in 2018. It will feature larger air intakes, modified brakes and a sports exhaust with four tailpipes for a more menacing look.
Not only that, BMW promises ‘significantly boosted power’, likely from the 6.6-litre V12 used in the M760Li, and improved ‘dynamic potential’ so it should make the standard 8 Series look slow in comparison. Think 600bhp-plus.
In an official statement confirming development of the BMW M8, BMW M division president Frank van Meel said: “The conception and development of the standard BMW 8 Series and the M model run in parallel.
“The future BMW M8 will build on the genes of the 8 Series and augment its DNA with added track ability and generous extra portions of dynamic sharpness, precision and agility.
“It all flows into a driving experience that bears the familiar BMW M hallmarks and satisfies our customers’ most exacting requirements.”
The 20-year-old 8 Series nearly became the basis for an M8, but BMW decided there was no market for such a car at the time and the project was scrapped.
The German manufacturer always denied its existence until in 2010, when it showed off the only prototype in existence.
BMW Motorsport did, however, get their mitts on the 850CSi to tune the engine to 375hp. Although never marketed as an M8, the 850CSi is said to have featured a BMW Motorsport VIN number instead of BMW AG.
BMW also took the time to discuss its return to Le Mans, which will feature a race version of the M8 known as the M8 GTE.
“The BMW M8 GTE development programme for our Le Mans comeback is in full swing,” BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt explained. “Developing a new racing car is always exciting, and in the case of the BMW M8 GTE the anticipation is that much greater still.”
He added: “We can’t reveal any pictures yet, but I can promise you that the BMW M8 GTE will look spectacular.
“We are planning an initial roll-out for the first half of this year and are looking at giving the car its race debut in the Daytona 24 Hours in late January 2018.”
The new 8 Series will be first offered as a coupe, with a convertible and gran coupe to follow. No word on a price – although somewhere around an equivalent Mercedes S-Class would make sense – or full specifications at this time.