Set to go on sale in November 2018, the all-new BMW 8 Series made its global debut ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the race-specs M8 GTE is making its racing debut.
The all-new 8 Series Coupe represents a revival of the ‘90s era E31 8 Series nameplate. Sold from 1990 to 1999, the E31 was one of the most sophisticated grand tourers of the ‘90s.
Some critics have said that the all-new 8 Series is actually a replacement for the F13 generation 6 Series Coupe, which is not entirely wrong given that the 6 Series Coupe was discontinued shortly before the all-new 8 Series was announced. Complicating the argument is that this all-new 8 Series is smaller than the F13 6 Series Coupe. Officially, BMW links this G15 generation 8 Series with the E31 generation model, as well as the Z8 and i8, describing this group of '8' designated cars as 'exceptionally sporty cars that fire the emotions.'
Measuring 4,851 mm long, the 8 Series is actually 43 mm shorter than the 6 Series Coupe. It is also 8 mm wider and 23 mm lower. The 8 Series’ 2,822 mm wheelbase is also 33 mm shorter than the 6 Series.
As the model will only go on sale in November, BMW did not reveal any indicative pricing so it’s difficult to confirm where the model will sit in relation to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe and S-Class Coupe.
Neither did BMW confirm speculations that the coupe rides on a variation of the mixed materials CLAR platform that currently underpin the 7 Series and the 5 Series. The version that’s used by the 7 Series has a carbon fibre structure along with steel and aluminum, while the one in the 5 Series uses only steel and aluminum.
However BMW did confirm that the model will be made at the Dingolfing plant, where both the 7 Series and 5 Series are also made.
The company also said that the 8 Series will be offered with two engine choices at launch, both with xDrive all-wheel drive but tuned for a more sporty rear-biased character.
The M850i xDrive uses a bi-turbo 4.4-litre V8 petrol that pushes out 530 hp from 5,500 – 6,000 rpm and 750 Nm from 1,800 – 4,600 rpm. Enough to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
The 840d xDrive uses a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbodiesel that pushes out 320 hp at 4,400 rpm and 680 Nm at 1,750 – 2,250 rpm, accelerating it from 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds.
Both models use an 8-speed torque converter Steptronic automatic transmission.
The M850i comes with an electronically-controlled rear differential lock, which uses an electric motor to adjust the rotational speed of either rear wheels when cornering.
The front suspension structures are double wishbones while the rear are five-point multi-link. Adaptive M suspension are standard on both variants, as is the Integral Active Steering that adjusts the rear axles’ angle depending on the vehicle’s speed and steering position.
Optional items include Laserlight headlamps, carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof, as well as CFRP wing mirrors, rear spoiler and rear diffuser, and active roll stabilization. The latter uses electric servo motors to not only compensates for body rolls during high-speed driving maneuvers, but also to counteract vibrations triggered by uneven road surfaces on one side of the road.
Inside, the 8 Series feature an optional Aston Martin/Volvo T8-style illuminated glass ornament on the gear lever. When illuminated, the gear lever shows a figure ‘8,’ representing the model’s series number. The glass material also adorns the iDrive Controller, the start/stop button and the volume control for the audio system.
Buyers can choose between a Harman Kardon sound system or Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system, both 16 speakers but the speakers of the Bowers & Wilkins are partially illuminated.
The instrument cluster is now a fully digital BMW Live Cockpit Professional display, with a 10.23-inch full-colour LCD screen.
The infotainment display at the centre is a 10.25-inch unit now runs on BMW Operating System 7.0, and allows for touch, voice, and gesture control, on top of the usual iDrive control. The OS now supports Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business. The BMW Digital Key allows customers to leave their car keys at home, and to lock/unlock and start the vehicle using a smartphone.
A higher performance M8, a four-door coupe (G16) in the spirit of the 6 Series Gran Coupe, as well as a convertible (G14) are expected to join the 8 Series model range in the near future.