20 Years in the Making: the BMW 8-Series is Back

Concept set to become production model in 2018.

by on May.25, 2017

The Concept 8 is expected to translate quite closely into the newly revived BMW 8-Series.

Its been nearly two decades since BMW pulled its flagship coupe from production. Now, we’re getting a good look at the reborn 8-Series.

Set to replace the lower-level 6-Series, which BMW recently said will be dropped, a concept version of the new 8-Series is set to make its sheet metal debut at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este along Italy’s Lake Como over the weekend.

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The Big Picture!

“The BMW Concept 8 is our take on a full-blooded high-end driving machine,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of design for the Bavarian maker.

(Click Here to see more about BMW’s biggest product blitz in history.)

Look closely at the BMW Concept 8 and you’ll get a good hint of what’s to come next year when the production Beemer makes it into showrooms around the world. There are a few details likely to change, but the basic shape, proportions and overall design language are expected to return on the 2019 BMW 8-Series.

The new 8-Series will serve as the BMW flagship coupe, the maker dropping its 6-Series.

Overall, the new 8 adopts a lower, wider and much more dramatic appearance than the current 6-Series. The roofline adopts a striking GT shape, flowing gracefully into the rear deck lid while the greenhouse tapers inward behind the back-seat passengers.

The hood features sharp creases and a strong power bulge clearly hinting of the performance the new BMW 8-Series is designed to deliver. New cats-eye headlamps adopt laser technology on the concept model, and it’s a good shot we’ll see that long-range technology migrate into the production model. The question is whether BMW will have to limit that to European versions as U.S. regulators yet to approve laser lamps.

The familiar BMW kidney grille grows larger but also kinks rearward to meet the hood. Underneath, a large air intake is framed by additional ports in front of the low-profile 21-inch multispoke wheels – almost certainly to cool the brakes, as well as to the aerodynamic-enhancing Air Curtain system.

The rear of the Concept 8 features L-shaped OLED taillights that flow forward into the back quarter panels. A carbon diffuser is there both to enhance aerodynamics and to give the show coupe some more visual panache.

Aimed to take on more premium coupes like the Aston Martin DB11 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe, the Concept 8’s interior is trimmed out in carbon fiber and polished aluminum, as well as contrasting white and brown leather. The 8 also features carbon fiber framed sports seats. And, lifting a touch first seen on the Volvo XC90, with its crystal starter knob, the BMW coupe uses Swarovski crystal for its iDrive controller and gearshift.

Carbon fiber, leather and contrasting leathers - along with Swarovski crystal accents.

Expected to carry a price tag in the 150,000 euros, or roughly $165,000, range, the return of the 8-Series could mark a shake-up in the BMW product family. Though it’s clear even more Sports-Activity Vehicles are on the way, the arrival of the Concept 8 – and imminent return of the 8-Series – shows the Bavarian automaker isn’t walking away from coupes. If anything, it is following rival Mercedes in trying to move further up-market.

(BMW takes heat over vehicle fires. Click Here for the story.)

The original 8-Series had a 10-year run, ending production in 1999. It was considered one of the more stylish models in the maker’s line-up and was visually best known for its pop-up headlights. Offered with a choice of both a V-8 and V-12 it was the first production car to offer a six-speed manual paired with a 12-cylinder engine. It also was one of the first BMW models to adopt a multi-link rear suspension.

Sluggish sales led BMW to pull the old 8-Series from the U.S. market in 1997, with it continuing in other markets for another two years.

During BMW’s annual shareholders meeting earlier this month, CEO Roland Krueger noted, “The 8-series Coupe will debut next year,” adding that, “We are refreshing our entire product portfolio and strengthening the performance side. Our strategy will focus on the luxury segment, where there are margins to be earned.”

Even with the unveiling of the Concept 8, details about the new 8-Series are sparse. We’ll have to wait for powertrain details, though we’d expect BMW to throw all the power it can get under that sexy hood. An M version might be more likely than for the 7-Series.

Perhaps we’ll learn even more during the debut of the BMW Concept 8 at Villa d’Este this weekend.

(BMW bolstering R&D spending, emphasizing electrification, other high-tech. Click Here for more.)

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