It has been around 20 years since the 8 Series arrived, complete with pop-up lights and beefy engines. Here’s why the new 8 Series is going to be a big deal ─ and the thing the Mercedes S-Class will have to worry about.
BMW has followed in the footsteps of Aston Martin and the Zagato by unveiling the 8 Series Concept at the Concorse de’Eleganza d’Este in Italy. The first offering will be a coupe, as pictured, but a Gran Coupe with four doors and a convertible will follow.
Unlike the Zagato, however, the 8 Series will be more affordable. At least, affordable enough to rival the S-Class Coupe and, when given the inevitable M treatment, somewhere in the ballpark of an equivalent AMG.
The idea is that the new 8 Series will provide the driver with performance and luxury, much like its predecessor, when it hits production in 2018. We are talking ultra levels of premium in a 2+2 arrangement, as part of BMW’s plan to battle the luxury market.
The old 8 Series was said to be a replacement for the 6 Series, but in actual fact it was after a different market. This time, the 6 Series coupe and convertible are approaching the end of production, making the 8 Series an indirect replacement.
BMW Concept 8 Series: Mmmm V12
In terms of the concept, BMW says it provides a taste of what the production car will look like but there will be UK-friendly revisions before it ends up in a showroom. With that said, the highly emphasised kidney grille is said to be a style thing going forward.
BMW is using the ‘CLAR’ platform (short for cluster and architecture) and will use unique wheelbase and track widths . It will sit low and close to the ground to emphasise the sportiness.
To make the 8 Series competitive, it is apparently going to have a lower kerb weight than its rivals, which will enhance the performance and efficiency. A generous dose of technology, as seen in the 7 Series and new 5 Series, will also make the cut.
Because of its position at the luxury end of the scale, you can expect the new 8 Series to use big-old engines though not all as big as the original 850i’s V12. A 3.0-litre straight-six is likely to join a 4.4-litre V8 and the 6.6-litre V12 from the M760Li.
An eight-speed automatic will be standard and all-wheel drive ‘xDrive’ will be an option for those who prefer all four wheels to move, as opposed to the rear ones.
BMW Concept 8 Series: A taste of the future
The 8 Series was never quite the hit BMW wanted, but it has become a bit of a classic in recent times ─ testament to the allure of pop-up lights. And because who would ever turn down a V12?
We admit, the idea of the 8 Series making a comeback is exciting but then the concept does look somewhere between an Aston Martin and a Lexus LC 500. The futuristic influence of the i8 supercar neglected somewhat, but then one is a supercar and the other a grand tourer.
Update: BMW has since confirmed it is working on the 8 Series and M8 in parallel, as well as an M8 GTE Le Mans race car as part of a return to the famous 24-hour race.