The 8 Series has been shown in a new preview image alongside its race-going sibling
BMW’s new flagship has been shown in the shadows; its reveal is on 15 June and is due to go on UK sale in November
The BMW 8 Series has been shown undisguised in a murky preview shot, a month ahead of its official reveal at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 15 June. The image shows the car alongside its race-going M8 GTE sibling, which will be competing in the event.
Most recently revealed amongst th 8 Series’ innovations is a digital instrument cluster as part of a new dashboard design, in an image which surfaced on social media.
Posted on Instagram (below), the image shows that the new two-door range-topper will swap the conventional dials of its siblings for a digital layout that will be BMW’s answer to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system. Up until now, only the i3 and i8 have featured this technology, but the 8 Series looks set to change that.
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Along with this new technology, the 8 Series is expected to come with BMW’s most advanced suspension technology in an attempt to make it more enjoyable to drive than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé and Bentley Continental GT.
Part of the car’s development period has included testing on the technical B-roads of Wales. The car’s dynamics were being evaluated and finalised on some of the world’s finest stretches of Tarmac, with the brief for engineers to produce a mix of «fascinating sportiness and supreme comfort».
To achieve this, BMW has provided the car with a host of driver-focused hardware and software, including adaptive damping and a dynamic stability control setting that allows for more playfulness while still retaining a ‘safety net’.
Markus Flasch, BMW 8 Series project manager, said: “Whether a driver expresses his or her wishes with regard to comfort and sportiness using the accelerator pedal or by pressing a button, the vehicle immediately adapts perfectly to each setting.”
Autocar has already driven a prototype for the two-door coupé, an M850i xDrive, which demonstrated the car’s potential on technical roads. However, the final settings won’t be confirmed until closer to the November sale date.
Being so closely related to the 7 Series, the 8 Series will share naming conventions and engines with its saloon sibling. This means that an iPerformance-badged plug-in hybrid will feature in the range, while the entry-level 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel unit found in the 730d will be used in an 830d.
The 8 Series line-up will also include the more performance-oriented 4.4-litre V8 in the 750i, accompanied by xDrive all-wheel drive and 523bhp.
Christian Billig, head of drive system integration at BMW, said: “Above all, the eight-cylinder harmonises perfectly with the further developed Steptronic transmission during dynamic acceleration. At the same time, the sound development of the sports exhaust system authentically reflects the car’s power delivery.»
A V12-engined model will come later in the 8 Series’ life cycle, although the most hardcore variant of the range will be the M8, which will make use of the lighter V8 but in uprated form. It’s likely to be near-identical to the powerplant of the latest M5, which is a 592bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, and will share the same M xDrive four-wheel drive system.
Inside, 8 Series models will feature the same top-end technologies found in the 7 Series, including the latest and next-generation semi-autonomous functions.
The 8 Series has seen one of the largest build-ups in recent automotive history. Before the production car, three concept cars were shown. The first, the 8 Series concept, previewed the standard car, while the M8 Gran Coupé concept demonstrated the thinking behind a high-performance version.
A racing concept was also created; it’s being followed by the M8 GTE, which is competing in this year’s World Endurance Championship, of which Le Mans is the most illustrious round.
As part of BMW’s range shake-up, the 8 Series coupé will indirectly replace the 6 Series coupé, which will end production this year, while the 6 Series convertible will then be indirectly replaced by the 8 Series convertible next year.
Additional reporting by Greg Kable and Jimi Beckwith