New BMW 8 Series in development

New-BMW-8-Series-in-developmentAhead of a projected launch in 2018, the prototype BMW 8 Series has been spotted being put through its paces in Germany.

The ‘fleet-leading’ model will most likely be a two door coupe edition of the 7 Series saloon, in a similar ethos to how the 4 Series and 3 Series are related.

The two 8 Series versions – the coupe and convertible – will indirectly replace the 6 series coupe which will see production come to an end in 2018. The 6 Series coupe will then be replaced by the 8 Series coupe the following year.

The last 6 Series edition, the Gran Coupe, despite running out at the same time as the convertible, is currently unconfirmed for replacement, but there’s a possibility that it could be changed for another 6 series Gran Coupe.

Also being changed is the 5 Series GT, this will happen late next year. It will be replaced by a 6 Series GT described as “sleeker and sportier” than the current edition.

This may not be the last we see of the coupe and convertible 6 Series variants however; BMW is still mulling over whether to introduce direct replacements for the two.

Insiders have said that the new 8 Series will be a direct rival to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and Bentley Continental GT when it finally hits the showrooms in 2018, with pricing to compete. The 8 Series will incorporate the same cutting edge technologies that featured in the 7 Series, including the latest and next-generation semi-autonomous features.

Despite the usual attempts to disguise the car from prying cameras, it’s possible to see the length of the model from the pictures, as well as a broader version of the carmaker’s unique kidney grilles.

At the front, upswept headlights feature, and trapezoidal exhaust tips sit below slim line rear lights. These have been significantly camouflaged and will most likely be altered before the car’s full reveal.

Because of the close link with the 7 Series, it’s probable that the 8 Series will feature the same engine as its saloon sibling. That would mean that an iPerformance-badged plug-in hybrid will play some part in the range, in addition to the entry-level 3.0-litre six cylinder diesel that was used in the 7 Series and a more performance focused 4.4-litre V8 from the 750i xDrive, accompanied by all-wheel drive. A V12-engined edition will feature later in the car’s life cycle.

It’s expected that the naming structure of the 8 Series will be similar to that of the 7 Series. This would mean that the 830d will most likely be the first out of the blocks.

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