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BMW will reveal the production version of its 8 Series on the eve of the year’s crowning endurance motorsport event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The road car, due on sale in Britain from November, will arrive on 15 June after many months of build-up that has included the reveal of three concept cars. The first, the 8 Series concept, previewed the standard car, while the M8 Gran Coupé concept demonstrated the thinking behind a high-performance version.
BMW is racing a competition version of its 8 Series, called the M8 GTE, in this year’s World Endurance Championship, of which Le Mans is the most illustrious round. The Bavarian firm’s new two-door model is therefore met with almost unprecedented levels of anticipation. Expectations are extremely high.
Engineers have been testing development cars in public for more than a year, with coupé and soft-top versions caught on camera as recently as last month. BMW’s latest known testing stint in Aprilia, Italy, involved final analysis of the car’s chassis and powertrain settings.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupé and Bentley Continental GT is technically related to the 7 Series saloon. 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 saloon 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 is also likely to include the more performance-oriented 4.4-litre V8 in 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 more aggressive bodywork. This model is likely to be powered by an uprated version of the latest M5’s 592bhp 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 top-end technologies found in the 7 Series, including the latest and next-generation semi-autonomous functions.
As part of BMW’s range shake-up, the 8 Series coupé will indirectly replace the 6 Series coupé, which will end production this year, while the 6 Series convertible will then be indirectly replaced by the 8 Series convertible next year.
Additional reporting by Greg Kable and Jimi Beckwith
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