BMW is still banging the drum for the upcoming 8 Series, which is understandable. Resurrecting the flagship coupe is big news for the brand and the model has been hotly anticipated since the concept vehicle appeared at 2017’s Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach. Unfortunately, camouflaged prototypes (below) show the pre-production version hosting some watered-down styling. While slightly disappointing, it’s understandable that BMW would stray from the extravagant folds of the concept car.
This week, the company gave us our best look to date of the returning model, along with an announcement stating the automaker will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since 2011 — where it plans to premiere the 8 Series coupe. We already have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
On June 15th, as the M8 GTE preps for the race, the road-legal M850i XDrive makes its first public appearance. Based on teaser shots, the production model looks identical to the gently disguised test mules paraded by the brand. Despite being partially obscured by the race car and some blurring, the 8 Series’ long nose and aggressively swept-back tail remain visible.
Said to house a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, the M850i XDrive mates its beefed-up motor to an eight-speed automatic. Meanwhile, standard adaptive suspension, torque vectoring, and four-wheel steering should help to keep the all-wheel drive coupe competent in the corners.
The formula should make for an exquisite grand tourer, but the performance darling will inevitably be the M8, slated for a later unveiling — as well as sedan and convertible bodystyles.
This doesn’t mean the 850i won’t be sensational. The initial specs look highly promising and just the sound of the prototype’s V8 was enough to make many of us salivate. We just hope the looks aren’t as humdrum as they seem in the teasers. Maybe the old 8 Series’ flip-up headlights and wedge design set the bar too high, but the new 8 Series doesn’t seem like it will stand out against the rest of the brand’s lineup in the same manner as the old car.