► New BMW 8-series here in summer 2018
► Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe
► Full dossier on G14, G15, G16 triplets
The BMW 8-series will rejoin the Munich line-up later in 2018, replacing the 6-series with a conscious nudge upmarket. This is one of the worst-kept secrets of the car industry: we've been spying the new Eight in Europe and around the world, and there's been a stream of concept cars and racers too.
BMW unveiled the M8 Gran Coupe concept at the 2018 Geneva motor show, providing our best look at the new grand tourer, which is expected to be unveiled around the time of the Le Mans 24-hour race in June 2018.
There will be a whole range of 8-series bodystyles: first are the convertible (G14) and coupe (G15), while a fast four-door badged Gran Coupe (G16) is coming in July 2019 to rival the Porsche Panamera. CAR magazine understands each will be given its own M division workover, too...
BMW 8-series interior
Our spies have now had a glimpse inside the cabin of the new 8-series (below). We can see an entirely digital instrument stack, with a new take on the speedo and rev counter; note how the display on the right seems to be set up to spin anti-clockwise. The dials mimic the not-quite-a-squircle graphic from the 8-series' front grille.
The close-up scoop picture inside the cabin confirms the usual array of interior tech: radar-assisted cruise control, naturally, voice control and heated steering wheels. The latest iteration of BMW's iDrive is present and correct, too.
The BMW 8-series dripfeed has preceded from a light trickle to a steady stream in recent weeks, with Munich itself releasing plenty of information on its new GT car.
More background on the new BMW 8-series
Expect the following engines and models to be available on the Eight:
- 840i 321bhp straight six
- M850i 456bhp 4.4-litre V8
- M8 650bhp 4.4-litre V8
With power outputs like that and lightweight materials keeping the kerbweight low, the new 8-series is going to be seriously fast in a GT fashion. More lowly models will be capped at 155mph top speed, but if you whip the restrictor off we hear that nearer 191mph is likely for the M8.
The M8 will be built in every bodystyle, CAR understands, and should use many of the current M5's parts. That includes the M5's wonderful twin-turbo 4.4 V8 and the same ZF eight-speed feeding xDrive AWD. Weighing in at close to 1800kg, it undercuts its closest and newest rival - the Mercedes-AMG GT4 - by 245kg. That should pay dividends at the traffic lights, and in the corners.
BMW has gone to the unusual lengths of issuing some of its own official 'spyshots' of the new 8-series, including this artfully lit picture above. Strip away the monochrome camo and you can make out the now familiar, sporty, GT-style proportions of BMW’s reimagined Eight.
Munich says the track-going M8 GTE racer is being developed alongside the new 8-series; it made its racing debut at the 24 hours of Daytona race in January 2018.
Will there be a hybrid 8-series PHEV?
At this stage no. But if the market dictates that a plug-in hybrid is needed, there are two applications waiting in the wings, CAR understands. They would use the straight six mated to group e-motors and battery modules. The 8-series has been engineered to accept electrification if the need arises.
BMW 8-Series: why the badge is growing from Six to Eight
Farewell, 6-series - welcome the new BMW 8-series. Yes, Munich is dropping the Six in favour of the Eight.
It’s a familiar motif: nudge the numbers up to reflect a move upmarket - and, hopefully, push the price up to boot. Yet this is not merely a cynical rebranding of today’s 6-series. The new Eight range will have a remarkably different purpose, CAR understands.
We expect the new 8-series range to be launched in late 2018, with UK sales due to start in November or December. It’s too early for prices, but a starting cost of around £70,000 seems likely and we anticipate the red-hot BMW M8 topping £115,000.
Today's 6-series range kicks off at around £61k, but the Coupe isn't currently listed on BMW UK's website (only the Convertible, Gran Coupe and Gran Turismo Sixes are on sale now).
BMW 8-series Coupe and Convertible: how they’re different from the 6-series range
The jump in number reflects a wider change to this car’s remit. The concept of the big luxo-GTs will be tweaked to turn these into more sporting, agile four-seater grand-tourers. Previously, the 6-series was targeted at the S-class Coupe and Cabriolet twins, as well as lower-rung Maseratis and Bentleys - but with the 8-series, BMW wants to chase more Porsche Panamera and AMG 4-door sales.
Insiders talk of a smaller footprint, more sporting proportions and a - modest - drop in kerbweight, meaning that the 8-series will move into competition with the Porsche 911 range, as well as Panameras. That's what Munich types insist - though we're bound to report that it still looks like a large GT to us.
The new 8-series models will use the familiar BMW group large-car architecture, so much of the hardware is shared with the 5-series/7-series brigade, which points to a choice of rear- and xDrive all-wheel drive and a variety of six- and eight-cylinder engines in various states of tune. A V12 can be added, should the market require it, though this is not likely at this stage.
Munich has already shown an M8 concept car in the shape of the race-liveried M8 GTE, which will be campaigned in track-spec at the 2018 Le Mans 24 hours race in the GT category. Its twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 pushes out more than 500bhp.
See the BMW M8 GTE in our separate story here
Clues from the 8-series concept car
For a taste of what the cars look like under the disguise of this prototype, check out the very official-looking BMW Concept 8-series show car (below) shown at the Villa d’Este concours d’elegance in Italy in 2017.
BMW chief executive Harald Krüger calls the new 8-series ‘the next model in the expansion of our luxury-car offering and will raise the benchmark for coupes in the segment.’
See the new BMW 8-series Coupe for the first time at the 2018 Paris motor show in September, with UK sales starting this autumn; the 8-series Convertible will make its world debut at the LA motor show in November 2018, with right-hand drive deliveries pushing back into spring 2019 - and the Gran Coupe following next summer.
Read all our BMW reviews here