► BMW 8-series is coming soon
► M8 Gran Coupe concept car unveiled in Geneva
► Full dossier on G14 and G15 twins
BMW has unveiled the M8 Gran Coupe concept at the Geneva motor show, and it's our best look at anything 8-series so far.
Tipped to hit dealers around July 2019, this concept is internally coded G16 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. As for power? Expect a meaty 650bhp.
However, weighing in at close to 1800kg, it undercuts its biggest rival - the Mercedes-AMG GT4 - by 245kg. That should pay dividends at the traffic lights, and in the corners.
More background on the new BMW 8-series
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. It's already started issuing its own 'spyshots' about the all-new 8-series coupe, revealing many details of its testing phases to boot.
These latest pictures were snapped during test drives at a proving ground in Aprilia, Italy. ‘The test drives under the most severe conditions show that we are right on target with our concept for the new BMW 8 series Coupe,’ says R&D chief Klaus Fröhlich.
‘The vehicle dynamics values already achieved are absolutely impressive. Our customers and fans can look forward to a genuine sports car.’
Yes, he's quite biased, but there you go...
Although the official pictures from this test feature yet another camouflaged car, you can still make out the now familiar, sporty, GT-style proportions of BMW’s reimagined 8-series.
BMW says the performance-orientated M8 and track-going M8 GTE are being developed alongside the new 8-series, with the latter having made its racing debut at the 24 hours of Daytona race in January 2018.
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, and CAR's catalogue of spy photos capture the new 8-series Convertible on winter test in an old-cold Swedish scene.
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've also been busy publishing spy pictures of the new 8-series Coupe (below).
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.
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 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.
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.
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
What about an 8-series Gran Coupe?
BMW is focusing first on the two-door coupe (codenamed G15) and convertible (G14) shapes for the Eight.
But, yes, there will be an 8-series Gran Coupe four-door - and we hear it'll be codenamed G16 and follow in summer 2019.
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 (above) 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.
Read all our BMW reviews here