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The return of the BMW 8 Series

By raccars Published

BMW

Are you excited by the news that the BMW 8 Series is to return?

BMW is planning to take on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe with a brand new 8 Series GT, due to arrive in 2020. The German company has already laid trademark groundwork to ensure that it has full control of a series of relevant names, such as the 825, 830 and, excitingly, the M850 and the M8.

Shuffling the BMW line-up

The new GT will be large and luxurious and is part of a line-up shuffle that will also see the 6 Series repositioned. The 6 Series is to become lighter and sleeker in a bid to compete with the Mercedes-AMG GT and the Porsche 911. Its transformation to a sporty two seater will leave room in the Bavarian firm's model line for the re-imagined 8 Series.

An M8?

An M8 was under consideration in the early '90s and BMW went as far as creating a couple of prototypes using a variation of the V12 that later went into the McLaren F1. Ultimately the company came to the conclusion that an M8 would not be commercially viable. A modern M8 could be a rival to the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe, powered by the familiar 4.4 litre twin turbo V8 with its 450bhp. Elsewhere in the 8 Series line-up, the V12 used by the 7 Series is likely to make an appearance.

The first BMW 8 Series

The original 8 Series was released in 1989 as a two door coupe grand tourer. It was faster and more expensive than the 6 Series and was at the time BMW's flagship model. While it was electronically limited to 160mph, BMW claimed that the 850 could, with a manual gearbox, reach 196mph. BMW spent many years and resources developing the 8 Series, using new CAD systems to create the design - back in the Eighties this was state of the art stuff.

The firm also used wind tunnel testing to ensure its lowest drag coefficient to date. The 8 Series was the first time a production car was powered by a V12 engine with a six speed manual transmission, and also pioneered CAN bus multiplex wiring and a 'drive by wire' electronic throttle.

Unfortunately the early Nineties saw a recession and a spike in energy prices caused by the Persian Gulf War. The 8 Series sold relatively slowly and BMW abandoned its plans to develop both a convertible variant and the M8 supercar. By the time the 8 Series was phased out in 1999 after a decade in production, just over 31,000 units had been sold world-wide.

A new 8 Series would become the company's flagship model, packed with advanced technology. BMW is remaining tight lipped about the project but it's believed that two layouts have already been proposed and are under development now. The company should have a concept ready for debut in 2018.

The new 6 Series

To make room for the return of the BMW 8 Series, BMW could redevelop the 6 Series using a new sports car architecture which is part of a joint venture with Toyota. The scalable platform could be used for the next generation of the Z4 as well as the new, Porsche 911-rivalling, 6 Series. This would probably be a slightly larger car than the Z4, capable of accepting BMW's six cylinder and V8 engines. The new line-up would include two door coupe and convertible variants only, with no plans for a new 6 Series Grand Coupe. This would effectively be replaced by the new 8 Series GT.

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