Normally, it takes an eagle-eyed spy photographer to capture photos of the camouflaged prototypes automakers don’t want the public to see. But BMW did want the public to see its new 8 Series Coupe testing in Italy, so it went ahead and did the spy photographers’ job for them.
When it arrives later this year, the BMW 8 Series Coupe will aim for a higher level of luxury than any recent two-door Bimmer, and revives one of the automaker’s most memorable 1990s names. While the car is still heavily camouflaged, this is our first real look at the new 8 Series in production spec.
Not that BMW hasn’t teased its new luxury coupe before. The production model’s styling will probably stay pretty close to the 8 Series concept car BMW unveiled last year. BMW has also taken a performance version, the M8, out for a public airing. It even has a racing version, the M8 GTE, that will take to the track for the first time at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the famous 24-hour race in Florida. This is a very odd way to unveil a new car.
While we have a pretty good idea of what the 8 Series will look like, details about what will be under the skin are scarcer. BMW won’t discuss powertrains, for example. It will be interesting to see if the new 8 Series follows the direction of the original model (not to mention the rival Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe) with big V8 or V12 engines, or whether it will be included in BMW’s ambitious electrification plans.
In addition to the standard 8 Series Coupe, BMW will offer the hotter M8 model. No official specifications for this high-performance variant have been released, but it’s rumored that the M8 will use a version of the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 from the M5 sedan. But while the M5 has 600 horsepower (a rumored Competition Package could boost that to 625 hp), the M8 could have up to 700 hp.
The 8 Series Coupe will shed its camouflage for a full public unveiling later this year. Sales will start in 2019, just in time for the 30th anniversary of the original 8 Series.