The BMW 8 Series is making a triumphant return to our roads after a two decade holiday.
We knew it was coming and like all modern launches, seemed to go on forever. The M8 race car made its debut before the road. That might seem odd, but this new car is a big deal for BMW.
As you’ll see, both the launch models are M Performance cars, so there’s bound to be more on the way.
BMW 8 Series
The new car, first showed concept form at the Concours D’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2017 marks a turning point in BMW’s design language. It’s also the marque return to the top-end coupe market.
At launch, you’ll be able to choose from two all-wheel drive variants, the M850i xDrive and M840d xDrive.
While xDrive tells you all four wheels send power to the road, you’ll be pleased to know that like the Jaguar F-Type SVR it’s really rear-wheel drive. BMW says that all the power goes to the rear until the car’s system detect slip and then the party heads for the front door.
Both look pretty much the same, although the M850i gets all the goodies. It’s a long, sleek thing with what BMW calls “extremely slim headlights.” I can’t say they’re incredibly slim from the photos, but BMW says they’re the slimmest ever for a Beemer, so I’ll take their word for it.
Along with all-wheel drive, the 8 Series also comes with four-wheel steering (with the silly official name of Integral Active Steering).
You can also get optional laser lights if you’re keen. They throw a beam 600m (well over a quarter of a mile) down the road and through some black magic avoid dazzling oncoming traffic.
BMW’s engineers have kept weight down with lots of aluminium (roof, doors, bonnet and front bulkhead) while the transmission tunnel is made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). You can also spec the double-bubble roof in CFRP to reduce weight even further. The lengthy options list has lots of stuff to choose from.
8 Series Interior
The cabin is packed full of fun gear like heads-up display, digital dashboard and standard leather seats. There is a set of rear seats, but how big they are is hard to tell from the supplied images. The interior design is still very familiar to BMW owners, but it’s an evolution that makes it look more contemporary.
BMW is clearly aiming this one at the more sporting driver. The company says the V8 has undergone a massive amount of refinement while still providing “intense power delivery.” I’m not being sarcastic, it’s what the press release says. It’s a good engine, though.
The M850i xDrive ships with BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 spinning out 390kW (530PS) and 750Nm for a 3.7 second run to 100km/h (62mph). Interestingly, the V8’s torque figure is well clear of the diesel’s.
The top of the launch range rolls on 20-inch wheels and the M Sport styling kit comes in Cerium Grey along with a wing. The car in the pic also has the laser lights, which are those blue tinges.
BMW 840d xDrive
Ah, does sir or madam prefer a relaxed cruiser? Step this way.
For your long-distance cruising pleasure, the M840d xDrive has BMW’s straight-six turbodiesel. That engine is good for 235kW (320PS) and 680Nm for a 0-100 time of 4.9 seconds. And a lower fuel bill, obviously.
The two are distinguishable by different design details, but you’ll have to look closely. The 840d has 19-inch alloys and specific interior trim.
Haha, fooled you. Well, only slightly. There is proper 8 Series M-car on the way, but it will be well into next year as the new car turns heads to the brand. That will have the M5’s bonkers 441kW (600PS) V8. Well I say those power figures knowing that everyone who has plopped the new M5 on a dyno has seen rather more than the quoted figures.
Rumour has it that the M8 will pack 480kW, putting it up there with the Huracan Performante. as far as actual outputs go, anyway. Should be a riot.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.