September brings a seriously exciting revelation in the automotive world. This is the official unveiling of the production-version BMW 8 series, a stunning luxury coupe designed to take down the likes of the Mercedes S-Class Coupe. It’ll be BMW’s first foray into this segment of the market, and it looks set to be a big hit.
The number 8, for BMW, has always represented something special; the last time we saw an 8-badged model was the wild-looking Z8, an early 2000s V8 sports convertible limited to only 5,703 examples. The Z8 was also a Bond car – one of the reasons it’s now retailing for upwards of €250,000. The 8 series of old has become a near priceless classic too, and if that’s anything to go by, the new version looks set to become even more extraordinary.
We’ve already seen what it looks like: pretty formidable, to say the least. It’s BMW’s first showcase of a new iteration of the marque’s design language, providing, according to BMW designer Adrian van Hooydonk, “a fresh interpretation of iconic BMW styling cues.”
The signature BMW black kidney grille bulges outwards from between a pair of twin headlamps resembling shards of ice. Flared wheel arches make for a muscular profile from front to rear, sitting above a set of colossal 21inch alloys. Crisp, striking lines travel the length of the car, while the low roofline hints at meticulously-sculpted aerodynamics and some seriously sporty performance.
At the moment the car remains a design concept, and so BMW is still closely guarding details of the engine and powertrain. However, the BMW 8 series is widely expected to share many of its parts with its four-door sibling, the 7 Series luxury saloon. That probably means a choice of engines ranging from a 2.0 or 2.5 litre four-cylinder engine right up to the 6.6L V12 powerhouse currently found in the range-topping M760li. BMW has already trademarked the “M8” badge, suggesting there’ll be a full-fat, track-ready performance version too, although that’ll only be popular among buyers with the deepest pockets.
There’s likely to be at least one diesel version too, probably derived from the 3.0-litre engine of the 730i, and a plug-in hybrid engine expected to be badged the 840e. The hybrid engine of the 740e offers a range of up to 46km on electric power alone.
The BMW 8 series interior looks both futuristic and minimalistic, somewhat reminiscent of the insane, spherically-wheeled Audi RSQ Concept supercar seen in I, Robot. The current 7-series comes with four-zone climate control, heated leather seats, front and rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control as standard, so it’s likely these features will be standard on the 8-series too.
The price is likely to rival that of Mercedes’ S-Class Coupe, which begins at around €160,000. It’s unlikely much will change design-wise before the product launch, and demand is going be very high indeed. It’s easy to see why. This may well be one of the best cars BMW has ever made.