Lost among the things not carried over to the twenty-first century was the BMW 8 Series. For years, the 8 Series was a lost relic of the late 90s. And that was that.
But then, fast forward 20 years to Le Mans 2018. BMW shows up with a vehicle they’d developed for the race track. They called it the BMW M8 GTE – and this was how they announced the second coming of their long-lost 8 Series.
The second generation of the 8 Series sits near the top of the brand’s lineup. Surprisingly, it also plays a significant role in some of the other lineup changes that are happening within BMW.
In with the new, out with the old
The one that’s soon to hit the streets is badged officially as the M850i xDrive. While this one does have the M Series branding throughout, there will likely be a true M Division variant in the works soon, too. It’s quite a stark change between a first and second generation, but then again, it’s been about 20 years since its last run.
Now, all that’s left to determine is whether 2019’s take on this series lives up to the expectations of the initial 8 Series set back in the 1990s. We’ll also have to see if it’s a worthy replacement for the 6 Series Gran Coupe, which BMW is planning to phase out in 2019.
BMW’s goal with this vehicle, along with other bigger and better vehicles like the X7 and the 7 Series, is to carve out a greater niche in performance luxury. With the 6 Series Gran Coupe nixed, they’re creating a larger division between this exclusive line and the rest. These vehicles are distinguishable as the elite of the brand’s offering by a badge that’s not white and blue, but rather black and white. Oh, and they start at a much higher price tag.
So, in a sense, the BMW 8 Series is more than just a relaunch of an old aspirational vehicle, it’s part of the beginning of a whole new aspirational line of BMWs. Let’s take a look at how this particular coupe plans to live up to that hype.
What to expect
It looks like the racing part of the 8 Series’ lineage is going to show it’s got more than just the brawn of a sculpted exterior with BMW badging. The 8 Series boasts a rowdy 4.4-liter V8 engine and 523 horsepower. BMW estimates that the coupe will reach 62 mph from a full stop in 3.7 seconds. And in true BMW style, the 8 Series will come with all-wheel drive standard.
To the unknowing eye, the 8 Series might look somewhat tame – it appears looking closer to a 3 Series than it does the brand’s hybrid i8 Roadster (also a part of that elite lineup). Though the 8 Series is far more humble-looking, packs a much bigger punch – the i8 only offers 374 horsepower. It will be offered with a convertible top option and as a coupe. It’s also looking like a Gran Coupe is in the works, offering a four-door alternative with just as much power. Though the coupe and convertibles both offer four seats, they’re fairly small and tight (though the trunk is fair for the class). The Gran Coupe is expected to offer an alternative with more seating space.
Inside, the 8 Series offers just about everything you’ll want, with standard features like a heads-up display, a wi-fi hotspot, and interior ambient lighting. There’s enough technology to live up to expectations with the help of a 10-inch display screen and the addition of Apple CarPlay connectivity. There’s no doubt that the 8 Series has come a long way from the six-CD changers that were top-of-the-line when we last saw this car. My, how times have changed.
From what we’ve seen of this coupe so far, it will certainly be as fun to drive as the one everyone wanted in the 90s. Its engine note is farther from that of a sports car and closer to that of something much faster and louder.
Hopefully, the driving experience will live up to the price tag. After all, this much power and sophistication won’t come cheap. BMW is pricing the coupe to start at $111,900, plus a $950 destination charge. The convertible will start even higher than that at $122,400. But with this rather hefty sticker price comes just about everything you’d want to add – it features Merino leather upholstery, a Harmon Kardon 16-speaker sound system and BMW’s Parking Assistant technology. You won’t want for much with this BMW, and at this price tag, you probably shouldn’t.
It seems that the 8 Series is set up for success, though it will be interesting to see how sales do with this type of sticker price. There’s a new BMW in town, and it’s sure to make itself known (if you don’t hear it first, that is). The 8 Series is set to launch in March of 2019.