New 2018 BMW 8 Series spotted in coupe and cabriolet form

BMW’s new Mercedes S-Class Coupe rival is caught testing on the road in both hardtop and cabriolet form.

BMW’s revival of the 8 Series name is just around the corner, with the production car expected to debut in the second half of this year. Our spy photographers have again caught thinly disguised prototypes out testing, this time in cabriolet form.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the fabric-roofed 8 Series, as the Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet rival was caught last year in flagship M8 form. It is, however, the first time we’ve seen a standard variant with more modest bodywork and wheels.

As expected, a cloth roof features on the 8 Series Cabriolet, with an elongated rear deck to contain the folded hood and the electric mechanism underneath. Two small rear windows feature, and it’s expected to be a proper four-seater.

The test mules still bare the overall shape of the Concept 8 Series that was unveiled in May, however the spy shots show that the production 8 Series has been toned down at the front, in comparison to the more angular nose of the concept. The big air vents on each side of the concept’s kidney grills have been covered over, but the svelte bonnet grooves and slim laser headlamps remain.

Little has changed along the side of the production car as the streaky door panel design remains and the big 21-inch wheels dominate the picture. The equally dramatic rear air vents have also been filled in, hinting that this test mule could be an entry-level production 8 Series. The two large rear exhausts are still fitted but the taillights appear to look more comparable to those on the current 6 Series, rather than the Concept 8 Series’ i8-style boomerang taillights.

Alongside a standard 8 Series, an M-Sport model was also seen on the back of a BMW delivery truck, sporting five-spoke wheels and larger brakes. The concept’s front air vents have been panelled over with a layer of black vinyl but they look set to feature on M-Sport 8 Series trim levels when the car goes on sale in 2018.

BMW Concept 8 Series: full details
The Concept 8 Series Coupe was revealed at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy. Following in its footsteps will be a broadening lineup of new 8 Series models that’s set to include an 8 Series Convertible, 8 Series Gran Coupe and a fiery M8. It was a long and rakish two-door coupe, which had a whiff of Maserati about its proportions. BMW, however, says that the car shows a ‘fresh interpretation of iconic BMW styling cues’.

At the front, slender laser lights sporting a similar light signature to that seen on the new 5 and 7 Series flank an oversized kidney grille. A carbon fibre front lip beneath is also said to underline the car’s ‘sporty and high-performance’ character. Air Breathers nestled behind the front wheel arches lead into aggressively sculpted flanks, which rise up into flared rear arches housing 21-inch alloy wheels. The concept is also finished in a new exterior colour called Barcelona Grey Liquid, which was designed exclusively for the concept.

In the cabin, a large centre console stack pours downwards, featuring a large infotainment screen perched atop of it. BMW says that there’s a “smooth connection” between the car’s three control clusters – the centre console, the instrument panel and the doors. Slim sports seats feature, while the cabin is trimmed in ‘Marino’ leather in dark brown and white. To lend a sporty feeling to the cockpit, naked carbon fibre trim is applied liberally.

BMW 8 Series engines and spec details
No official details on the platform or powertrains has been announced, however, Auto Express understands the 8 Series will be based on the same CLAR architecture as the latest 7 Series.

That platform has flexibility to adopt everything from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine right up to a 6.6-litre 12-cylinder motor. Indeed, recent trademark applications suggest that BMW plans to roll out a varied mix of models within the 8 Series range; names within the line-up that have been registered for trademarks include 825, 830, 835, 845 and 850.

At the top of the range BMW has also ring-fenced the M8 badge, which indicates that the firm is eyeing-up a flagship rival for Merc-AMG S63 coupe. If given the green light, those models would likely use the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8.

The more popular models would likely be made up of smaller capacity six- and eight-cylinder engines borrowed from the 5 and 7 Series lineups. To broaden the car’s appeal over the S-Class coupe, BMW will also introduce various diesel engines to the range, including the possibility of its new 394bhp quad-turbo 3.0-litre diesel. xDrive four-wheel drive is also expected to be offered to buyers as well.




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