As news of the new BMW 8 Series Coupe Concept started to die down, a new exclusive and extremely brief test drive of it surfaced. The folks over at Automobile Magazine were fortunate enough to take the 8 Series for a very brief and very limited drive at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, where it debuted. The car they drove is literally the only one. It’s a hand-made, one-off 8 Series Concept that costs quite a lot of money to make. So, naturally, BMW was strict on the driving experience. However, there are some interesting tidbits of information in the Automobile story that you should read.
Firstly, this car is 80 percent production ready. While a lot of it is exaggerated for concept car duty, most of what you see will make it to production. That’s incredibly good news, as this concept is stunning. It’s also refreshing because BMW has a bit of a history of changing the concept quite a bit for production duty, often removing what fans loved most about it. We also learn that the dimensions are quite different from the 6 Series Coupe it sort of replaces. The new 8 Series Coupe will sit on a longer wheelbase than the 6er but actually be a bit shorter, wider and lower than the 6er.
What’s also interesting is the mixture of materials in the body. “The front end is defined by an aggressive sharknose grille which makes a real statement. It may look vulnerable, but for optimum impact protection the entire section is made of composite materials.” said BMW 8 Series project designer Marc Giraud.
So we can expect to see a lot of this beauty on the final production car, which could make it one of the prettiest GT cars on the road and possible BMW’s best looking car. What’s interesting is that BMW is really stressing that this is a sportier version of a GT car that has its own distinct character. It isn’t trying to copy anything else. “The 8 Series coupe is the sportiest car in its segment,” said BMW Chief Technology Officer, Klaus Fröhlich. “It’s neither a Vantage nor a 911 but a proper high-performance BMW with a character of its own.” That’s refreshing to hear and it sounds exactly like what we’d hope for from an 8 Series.
Inside, some of what you see in the Concept will be gone for production car duty but the basics will remain. For instance, the seats are concept-only, as is the simply awesome steering wheel (what a shame). Though, the very cool center stack and iDrive screen will remain. As will the fully digital gauge cluster, though we don’t know if the really impressive graphics will remain. Those might just be for concept show-offery.
While Automobile didn’t get to learn what sort of engine powered the concept, they did say that it spun its rear wheels rather easily. This is good news. We’re guessing that some sort of twin-turbo V8 was under the hood but we can’t know anything for sure. What we do know is that the 8 Series will likely come with BMW’s typical suite of modern BMW engines. So expect the B58 3.0 liter I6 in the standard car, possibly a new B-Series V8 engine and then whatever the M8 gets, which will also likely be a brand-new V8. There will be a plug-in hybrid variant but that probably won’t be available at launch, as BMW claimed it will debut “when the market is ready for it,”. Though, all 8 Series variants will technically be mild hybrids, as they will all come with 48-volt electrical systems and an electric motor that will act as the starter motor and add power while running. Audi uses a similar setup in the current SQ7 and it’s starting to become common among high end luxury and performance cars, these days.
It’s a good read and gives quite a bit of insight into one of BMW’s most exciting upcoming cars. Stay tuned for when BM