BMW has confirmed the M8 for production, along with its endurance racing counterpart – the M8 GTE.
The M8 will sit above the recently confirmed 8-series that was previewed by the new 8-series concept. It’s likely to be powered by a more highly stressed version of the next M5's 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine and share the same 'M xDrive' four-wheel-drive system. BMW announced that the M8 will have M’s signature quad exhaust pipes, larger brakes and uprated air intakes, although further details have not been given.
M division’s president, Frank van Meel, said: “The conception and development of the standard BMW 8-series and the M model run in parallel. The future BMW M8 will build on the genes of the 8-series and augment its DNA with added track ability and generous extra portions of dynamic sharpness, precision and agility. It all flows into a driving experience that bears the familiar BMW M hallmarks and satisfies our customers’ most exacting requirements.”
“We have been involved with the wider 8-series project from the very beginning," van Meel told our sister publication Autocar UK. "Our challenge as engineers was actually to ensure that the standard car wasn’t too sporty for its customers, because we wanted the M8 to feel like a proper step up. Also because not all 8-series customers want an M car.”
Insiders suggest the 8-series and M8 will use the same platform as the 7-series and 5-series, and that the big M car will share much of the engine and drivetrain of the forthcoming four-wheel-drive M5.
The next M5 itself is expected to have more than 624hp. “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,” said van Meel.
The M8 GTE racing car, also announced at the Nürburgring 24hr endurance race, will be given its racing debut at the Daytona 24 Hours in January next year before marking the return of a factory BMW effort to the Le Mans 24hr endurance race in 2018 for the first time in six years. The standard M8 is likely to be revealed ahead of this; the 8-series goes on sale internationally in the second half of next year, although no reveal date has yet been provided for either.