The 8-series' range toppers will come in two-door coupé and convertible form, as well as in the guise of a four-door Gran Coupé.
Following the unveiling of the 8-series coupé, BMW has all but revealed all three variants of its upcoming 8-series flagship in recently surfaced patent images. These images show the distinct designs of the convertible and Gran Coupé.
Due for production late in 2019, the four-door Gran Coupé was previewed at the Geneva motor show with the M8 Gran Coupé concept. The production car's look will be toned down, as compared to the concept. As a result, it will appear largely similar to its two-door siblings, albeit with a raised rear roofline to offer more head room in the cabin. This design feature was confirmed by the aforementioned patent pictures of the 8-series which surfaced on the website Bimmerpost.
The base 8-series will be offered in the 840d guise, up to an M850i-badged model. The Gran Coupé is expected to follow suit, while the M8 Gran Coupé will top the range.
The M8 coupé was pictured during a testing stint at the Nürburgring, earlier. The design differences of the M8 coupé and convertible are visible in the pictures. Other than their different tops, the variants also get their own boot lids to create differing silhouettes. The Geneva concept (as well as the new patent shots) shows where the Gran Coupé – a successor to the M6 Gran Coupé – will differ from the others. So far, only the non-M, two-door, 8-series coupé has been revealed. The other two body types and all three M variants are due to be revealed later.
On the basis of the new 8-series range – expected to appear on public roads in November – the M8 models will use BMW's twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine. We know this because the racing M8 that competed in the Daytona 24 Hours earlier this year was equipped with this powerplant. Without motorsport restrictors to worry about, the finished road-legal car is expected to produce 600bhp, placing it above the latest 592bhp M5 and giving it more firepower than the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupé, which has 577bhp.
The M division president Frank van Meel revealed that development of the M8 was started at the same time as the regular 8-series and that their programmes ran in parallel. He said the M8 builds "on the genes of the 8-series and augments its DNA with added track ability and generous extra portions of dynamic sharpness, precision and agility".
He also said that BMW's engineers set out "to ensure that the standard car wasn’t too sporty for its customers" because the M division "wanted the M8 to feel like a proper step up"; and "also, because not all 8-series customers want an M car," van Meel went on to say.
Insiders suggest the M8 will use the same platform as the 7-series and 5-series, and that the M car will share much of the drivetrain of the four-wheel-drive M5. Van Meel's response to this speculation was that he couldn’t confirm it, for now.
“We certainly want to make a statement with this car. It will sit at the very top of our model range and, for now, we have no confirmed plans for any series production model above it, so we understand it must have a specification suiting its position in our hierarchy.”
BMW also used the M8 GTE, the racing version of the car, to compete as part of a factory effort in this year's Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race. It was the brand's first factory entry there in six years.
The M8 will carry a heavy premium over the standard 8-series' starting price, so a starting price surpassing that of even the i8 supercar is certain.