BMW has released official images of the production-spec 8-series being endurance tested on track in Aprilia, with tweaks being made to the driving dynamics of the model before its official reveal in the coming months. Images of BMW’s new flagship had leaked earlier, giving hints of what to expect.
The 8-series, which will rival the Mercedes-Benz S-class Coupe and Bentley Continental GT, is inspired by the Concept 8-series. It also shares some exterior design features with the 6-series.
Underneath, the upcoming flagship is technically related to the 7-series sedan. It will essentially be a two-door coupé version of that car, much in the same way that the 4-series and 3-series are related.
Being so closely related to the 7-series, it’s likely that the 8-series will share naming conventions and engines with its sedan 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 found in the 730d will be used in an 830d. The 8-series line-up will also likely include the more performance-oriented 4.4-litre V8 from the 750i xDrive, accompanied by all-wheel drive. A V12-engined model will come later in the 8-series’ life cycle.
The most hardcore variant of the 8-series will come in M8 form, with its own aggressive bodywork. This model is likely to be powered by an uprated version of the latest M5's 600hp 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine and share the same M xDrive four-wheel-drive system.
Inside, 8-series models will feature the same high-end technologies found in the 7-series, including the latest and next-generation semi-autonomous functions.
As part of BMW's range re-jig, the 8-series coupé will indirectly replace the 6-series coupé, which will end production in 2018, while the 6-series convertible will then be indirectly replaced by the 8-series convertible the following year.
The final 6-series variant, the Gran Coupé, despite running out at the same time as the convertible, is unconfirmed for replacement but could be renewed.
It might not be the end of the road for the 6-series coupé and convertible variants, though, as BMW is still undecided as to whether direct replacements for the two will be introduced.
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