BMW Set to Debut New 8 Series Ahead of Le Mans Return

The race also will bring the debut of the BMW M8 GTE endurance car.

by on May.14, 2018

The new BMW M850i xDrive will have to live in the shadow of the GTE race car until next month.

It’s been seven years since BMW last took to the tarmac in Le Mans – and 19 years since the last 8 Series coupe rolled off its assembly line. Both droughts are about to be broken.

The Bavarian automaker has confirmed it will unveil an all-new 8 Series model on June 15, a day before the BMW M8 GTE will line up on the starting grid for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Both cars are shown in this teaser image, though you’ll have to squint hard to make out many details when it comes to the street-legal 8 Series.

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“There isn’t be a better setting for the world premiere of the new BMW 8 Series Coupe than the 24-hour race at Le Mans,” said Klaus Fröhlich, board member of the BMW AG, Development, in an announcement accompanying this single image. “The race is a pure demonstration of passion, dynamics and long-distance capability. These characteristics define our new sports car in a special way.”

Appropriately, the Friday debut is expected to focus on the M850i xDrive which will, initially, serve as the flagship of the new model line, an M8 expected to come along eventually. Details are a bit scarce, though BMW says it will feature a “new” B-8 expected to punch out 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque through a modified version of its current eight-speed automatic gearbox. As the xDrive name implies, power will be delivered to all four wheels, the M850i expected to do that with a notable rear bias under optimal road conditions, with a “controlled” rear differential lock to maximize traction.

The 8 Series spent plenty of time on the track before it will debut at the 24 Hours of LeMans.

(BMW unleashes its most powerful M5 ever. Click Here for the story.)

BMW also tells us the new M850i xDrive will feature Integral Active Steering, which should allow the back wheels to turn ever so slightly in order to both enhance high-speed handling and parking lot maneuverability. Add adaptive M suspension technology and Active Roll Stabilization.

The new M850i will ride on 20-inch light alloy wheels shod in high-performance tires.

While performance will be the watchword, “The new BMW 8 Series Coupe,” the automaker boasts, will be “equally as convincing in the role of the sovereign cruiser that pampers its passengers not only with ride comfort on long stretches of motorway or on country roads, but also with its modern luxury ambience and high-class equipment features.”

(Click Here for more about BMW’s new iX3 electric vehicle.)

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

Spy shots that have leaked out on the Internet reveal a very significant emphasis on technology. But unlike rival Audi, which has been moving more and more towards touchscreen and gesture-based controls, those pics indicate there will be lots of classic buttons and knobs, including the familiar iDrive controller. The driver’s digital display appears to be at least as large as, and likely even larger than, the 10.2-inch display found in the current BMW 7 Series. Meanwhile, it’s likely the new 8 Series will push even further into those hand gesture controls first debuted on the latest 7 Series.

While meant to be more sporty than the 7, the new 8 Series will boast pretty much all the classic luxury elements, albeit taken to a new level as the brand’s flagship passenger car. Look for high-grade leathers, with plenty of metal and wood accents.

(For an inside look at what those future BMW electric vehicles will look like, Click Here.)

The launch of the new 8 Series at Le Mans makes sense considering the race is marked by BMW’s return. It also highlights the way automakers have been shifting away from their classic dependence on auto shows. That said, the first truly public unveiling of the new 8- line is all but certain to follow at the upcoming Paris Motor Show in September.

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