BMW 8 Series coupe testing in Wales ahead of June debut

Article Stuart Milne Chris Haining Andy Goodwin
Apr 30, 2018
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Prototype BMW 8 Series coupes are being honed on Welsh roads before the model is revealed this summer

The BMW 8 Series Coupe is almost ready to grace showrooms after undergoing final testing on challenging Welsh tarmac. The finished 8 Series is set to be revealed to the public in June. Test drivers are using the twisting B-roads to ensure its engines, gearboxes and suspension provide “particularly sporty handling characteristics” and the BMW M850i xDrive has come in for particular scrutiny.

It features a redesigned 4.4-litre V8 engine and the latest BMW suspension technology, with ‘active roll stabilisation’ to keep the car flat in corners, without ruining its comfort on bumpy roads. The M850i also features a "state-of-the-art" version of BMW’s xDrive four-wheel-drive system. This should help its tyres cope with 523bhp – a 67bhp increase – and power is sent through a heavily modified eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Before arriving in Wales, 8 Series Coupe prototypes had already been subjected to cold-weather testing in Arjeplog, Sweden, extensive testing at BMW’s Miramas proving ground in the South of France and laps of the Nürburgring Nordschleife track in Germany.

BMW 8 Series design

Expected to effectively replace the BMW 6 Series Coupe and Convertible, the new 8 Series will be a closer rival to cars like the Porsche 911 and Lexus LC 500, as well as the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and Aston Martin Vantage.

Although the car"s contours are disguised by a patterned disguise, the overall silhouette closely resembles the Concept 8 Series that was unveiled during Italy"s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2017. However, the concept"s aggressively low front end appears to have been tamed somewhat for production.

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The camouflage partly conceals the car"s trademark "double-kidney" grille, but it still appears smaller than that of the concept. Twin bonnet-top bulges are still evident, but fade before reaching the car"s nose, unlike those of the concept. The test car also appears to wear larger, less angular headlamps than the concept and its bonnet line is higher – presumably in order to comply with safety regulations.

Although BMW is remaining tight-lipped on the full extent of the 8 Series’ engine range, we know it has already trademarked a range of names, including 825, 830, 835, 850, 845, 860 and M850.

As well as the Coupe and Convertible, the 8 Series badge is also likely to grace a four-door Gran Coupe later on. BMW chief Harald Krüger announced that the 8 Series will build on BMW’s “tradition of luxurious sports coupes and add a genuine dream car” to the company’s line-up, providing buyers with “a slice of pure automotive fascination” while underpinning the BMW’s “claim to leadership in the luxury segment”.


The high-performance BMW M8 has been confirmed to be in development alongside the standard 8 Series. BMW says the M8 will feature “classical M features”, including larger air intakes, more powerful brakes and four tailpipes. The engine is still under wraps, but it could use a 4.4-litre V8 engine, designed to give the M8 sufficient power to rival the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe.

Frank van Meel, BMW M Division’s boss, said: “The future BMW M8 will build on the genes of the 8 Series and augment its DNA with added track ability and generous extra portions of dynamic sharpness, precision and agility. It all flows into a driving experience that bears the familiar BMW M hallmarks and satisfies our customers’ most exacting requirements.”

BMW M8 Gran Coupe Concept

BMW showed off a striking M8 Gran Coupe Concept at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The concept previews a four-door version of the 8 Series. The concept’s M8 designation means it can also be considered a preview of what the high-performance versions of the 8 Series and 8 Series Gran Coupe production cars might look like. As noted above, a production M8 is already in development.

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Aggressive front and rear-end treatments, large wheels, flared wheelarches and a carbon-fibre roof give the M8 Gran Coupe Concept a sporty look, while the car’s extra pair of doors fit seamlessly into its rakish design. Its headlights, with a hexagonal take on BMW’s signature ‘four-eyed’ look, are similar to those used on the M8 GTE race car, which made its debut at the Daytona 24-hour race in Florida on 27-28 January.

BMW 8 Series price and release date

An exact price and UK on-sale date for the 8 Series has yet to be confirmed; we expect further details will be revealed when the car is officially unveiled in the summer.

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