BMW has shown off a striking M8 Gran Coupe Concept at the Geneva Motor Show. The concept previews a four-door version of the forthcoming 8 Series coupe, which is set to sit at the top of BMW’s range when it arrives in 2019.
The concept’s M8 designation means it can also be considered a preview of what the high-performance versions of the M8 and M8 Gran Coupe production cars might look like. A production M8 is already in development and the standard 8 Series as been undergoing high-speed testing in Italy in recent months.
Aggressive front and rear-end treatments, large wheels, flared wheelarches and a carbon-fibre roof give the M8 Gran Coupe Concept a sporty look, while the car’s extra pair of doors fit seamlessly into its rakish design. Its headlights, with a hexagonal take on BMW’s signature ‘four-eyed’ look, are similar to those used in the recently revealed M8 GTE race car.
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Previously, BMW released the most revealing images yet of the 8 Series coupe undergoing testing. BMW said that its latest images show a ‘close-to-series’ prototype, meaning the car you see here is almost production-ready.
The car has been undergoing testing at the Aprilia proving ground in Italy; BMW says the standard car is being developed alongside a high-performance M8 version and the M8 GTE racing car, which makes its debut at the Daytona 24-hour race in Florida on 27-28 January.
Speaking about the car’s testing, Klaus Fröhlich, BMW board member for development and research, said: “The test drives under the most severe conditions show that we are right on target with our concept for the new BMW 8 Series coupe. The vehicle dynamics values already achieved are absolutely impressive. Our customers and fans can look forward to a genuine sports car.”
Expected to effectively replace the BMW 6 Series Coupe and Convertible, the new 8 Series will be a closer rival to cars like the Porsche 911 and Lexus LC 500, as well as the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and Aston Martin Vantage.
Although the car"s contours are disguised by a patterned disguise, the overall silhouette closely resembles the Concept 8 Series that was unveiled during Italy"s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2017. However, the concept"s aggressively low front end appears to have been tamed somewhat for production.
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The camouflage partly conceals the car"s trademark "double-kidney" grille, but it still appears smaller than that of the concept. Twin bonnet-top bulges are still evident, but fade before reaching the car"s nose, unlike those of the concept. The test car also appears to wear larger, less angular headlamps than the concept and its bonnet line is higher – presumably in order to comply with safety regulations.
Although BMW is remaining tight-lipped on the 8 Series’ engine range, we know it has already trademarked a range of names, including 825, 830, 835, 850, 845, 860 and M850.
As well as the Coupe and Convertible, the 8 Series badge is also likely to grace a four-door Gran Coupe later on. BMW chief Harald Krüger announced that the 8 Series will build on BMW’s “tradition of luxurious sports coupes and add a genuine dream car” to the company’s line-up, providing buyers with “a slice of pure automotive fascination” while underpinning the BMW’s “claim to leadership in the luxury segment”.BMW M8
The high-performance BMW M8 has been confirmed to be in development alongside the standard 8 Series. BMW says the M8 will feature “classical M features”, including larger air intakes, more powerful brakes and four tailpipes. The engine is still under wraps, but it could use a 4.4-litre V8 engine, designed to give the M8 sufficient power to rival the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe.
Frank van Meel, BMW M Division’s boss, said: “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.”