Shortly after previewing the next-generation 8 Series in concept format, BMW is moving quickly to stoke further interest in its next-generation large coupe by officially confirming an M8 performance flagship is in the works.
Precious details are being offered, but a heavily-covered early prototype was shown at the Nurburgring 24-hour endurance race over the weekend.
Whilst bits made visible through the camo are largely classic M cues such as enlarged air intakes, uprated brakes, and the quad exhaust pipes, this run-out also gives us clues on what to expect of the regular 8 Series where design is concerned.
The rear-end remains heavily disguised, but up front, we see a toned down reinterpretation of the Concept 8 Series’ large grille-slim headlamp fascia.
Most revealing perhaps is a peek inside the cabin, where we see parts of the Concept’s gently sloping centre console with a free-standing screen atop in pre-production guise. Much of the dashboard remains covered, obscuring the details, but the basic shape is unmistakeble.
Powertrain specs are anyone’s guess at this moment, but it is fair to assume something with greater potency than the upcoming M5, which has been confirmed to generate in excess of 600hp and 700Nm from a heavily reworked version of the predecessor’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8.
Pending further details, the actual job of powering the M8 could fall to either one of two engines – a further uprated version of the aforementioned 4.4 V8 or the 6.6-litre V12 that is currently pushing 600hp and 800Nm in the M760Li xDrive.
Alongside the production model, a race-spec M8 GTE is also under development to spearhead BMW’s return to Le Mans.
“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,” BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt – indirectly indicating the timeframe to expect of the production 8 Series and M8’s eventual debut.