When BMW introduced the 8-Series in 1989 for the first time, it was considered among the most desirable models built in that decade by the Munich Germany-based manufacturer. With its unconventional looks, advanced engineering, performance and handling, it was a hit when launched and had a long career spanning a decade. Meanwhile, automotive priorities changed and BMW focused on more profitable products like compacts and SUVs.
However, the idea of a GT was never abandoned and to test waters BMW previewed a concept 8-Series at the 2017 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The feedback received prompted the carmaker to green light its production and the Gen II 8 Series made its formal debut at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France a few days ago.
The incoming 8 Series stands out as a landmark model in a BMW Coupe lineage that dates back to the 1930s. Fluid design cues, smooth sheetmetal, definitive GT proportions and profile besides cutting engineering re-affirm the commitment to the model.
The car boasts of unique styling with most of the design cues remaining faithful to the concept car including the bigger kidney grille, double bubble-style roof and aerodynamic kit like active air flap control grille slats, air curtain and air breathers. The visible difference between the concept and production model is the shortened bonnet, softened air scoops on the doors and side skirts. However, the concept’s remaining features like the elongated quarter windows, the heavily raked rear windscreen and wraparound taillights have been carried over.
The LED headlamps according the BMW are the thinnest that brand has ever offered and feature several unique laser technology applications.
As a 2+2 coupe, the cabin features the brand’s latest design and ergonomics package in a typical layout. These newly developed sports seats have integrated headrests and a semi-electric folding function on each seatback for easier entry and exit for the rear passengers. Merino Individual leather upholstery comes with contrast stitching while, pedals, driver’s footrest come from M-performance brand. It also has illuminated door sills and M badges on the steering wheel and the instrument cluster as part of the appearance package.
One interesting design feature is the wide centre console that rises toward the dashboard to separate the driver and front passenger areas. With ergonomics in mind, it hosts most of the control features for the audio system, the air conditioning control panel, air vents, and the freestanding and frameless infotainment display package which combines the 10.25-in screen with the fully digital, 12.3-in instrument cluster.
Since this day and age has dictated downsizing in displacement and reduced number of cylinders, the new 8-Series will not be available with a 12-cylinder engine anymore. Instead there will be forced fed 4.4-litre V8 new and highly advanced lightweight aluminium-alloy block, fully variable valve control, double-Vanos variable camshaft timing, and a flap-controlled exhaust system. It also has larger twin-scroll turbochargers and intake ports optimized for higher performance. Compare the output figures of the V8s 523hp at 5,500 – 6,000 rpm and 553lb-ft of torque between 1,800-4,600 rpm vs 300hp and 332 lb-ft from the 5.0-litre V12 then one can empathise with the engineering advancements the company has made. That’s not all. The 0-100km/h has vastly improved from 6.8secs to 3.6secs, which means this is a GT with supercar performance figures. Top speed is limited to 250km/h electronically.
The power reaches the wheels through an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission which comes with wider ratios and sportier gear shifts. Revised specifically for the model is the Launch Control feature for off-the-line sprints with maximum available traction. Shift paddles placed behind the steering wheel enable the driver to use a manual model to switch gears. For the first time the model is offered with all-wheel-drive system with rear-biased power delivery in default mode.
As expected, the new coupe rides on a bespoke suspension system that combines a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle. It also gets electromechanical steering and a powerful braking system developed specifically for this model. Shock absorber damping can be electronically controlled via the Driving Experience Control switch which offers Sport and Sport+ modes when activated. Meanwhile, the active steering helps reduce the car’s turning circle and increases agility at moderate speeds.
Latest safety features include a host of driver assistance technologies that turn it into a semi-autonomous vehicle. Personal Co-Pilot processes camera images and data provided by ultrasonic and radar sensors to monitor vehicle surrounds and take actions depending on the environment and the traffic around the car. The standard Cruise Control system includes automatic braking function and collision and pedestrian warning with automatic city braking function, while the optional active cruise control system adds stop and go capabilities. Auto parking feature will be available.
UK price: from £100,045
2018 BMW 850i xDrive Coupe [Gallery]
BMW launched its much awaited 850i xDrive Coupe at this year’s Le Mans, partnering with the motorsport version of the 8-series debuting in the race.
The car gets the new BMW design language that defines its bold grille, slim headlights with Laser, contoured bonnet and well defined tail. It comes to market with the 4.4-litre twin turbo V8 engine with 750Nm of torque and 530hp horsepower. The smaller inline diesel six-cylinder engine is also available with 320hp and 680Nm of torque on the 840i xDrive.
The car gets the latest interior package with fully digital displays and new heads-up display.