BMW enthusiasts have good reason to get excited, after the BMW Concept 8 Series made its debut at an exclusive Italian car show. A production version of the stunning 2+2 Coupé flagship looks set to take on the Mercedes S-Class Coupé, and BMW has already confirmed a racing version that will take the marque back to Le Mans. It’s 18 years since the original E31 8 Series went out of production.
The long and swooping twodoor is undeniably dramatic in its proportions, with hints of BMW i8 in its nose and rear wheel arches, as well as echoes of classic design cues from Maserati and Jaguar. Elements of the Concept 8 Series’ design are said to be influenced by the air rushing out of its various aerodynamic gills, while flared wheel arches signify its rear-wheel drive layout and emphasis on performance. Adrian van Hooydonk, Vice President of BMW design, said: “Together, these elements create a model brimming with character. In short, this is a driver’s car.” The Concept 8 Series is fitted with slim laser headlights, 21-inch alloy wheels and painted in an exclusive new colour called Barcelona Grey Liquid. Reimagined features like the stretched and lowered BMW kidney grilles are said to be a ‘fresh interpretation of iconic BMW styling cues’. The cabin is dominated by a tall centre console, separating the front occupants and promoting the grouping of the instruments, central infotainment system and doors in a ‘fluid transition’, to make it the most driver-focussed interior seen in any recent BMW. The carbon fibre shell seats are slim, but trimmed in Merino leather for a luxurious look, while the steering wheel has red anodised paddleshifts to control the automatic gearbox. The gear selector itself is finished in Swarovski crystal, along with the iDrive controller. While little has been announced about the engine line-up, the 8 Series will be based on the same CLAR platform as the BMW 7 Series, which is able to support a wide range of diesel powerplants. It’s likely that 3.0-litre straightsix diesel engines will be found under the bonnet, in 830d, 840d and 850d guises, with the latter unit borrowed from the M550d xDrive that develops 395bhp and 561lb ft of torque.
A plug-in hybrid edition is highly likely, based on the powertrain found in the 740e iPerformance model. Expected to arrive in 2018, it’s likely the production BMW 8 Series Coupé will also be joined by a convertible model around a year later, fitted with a fabric soft top. In addition, the extra reassurance of xDrive four-wheel drive variants is highly likely.