Bentley, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche - BMW has them all in its sights with its ambitious new 8-series grand tourer

AFTER TEASING US with an 8-series concept last year, BMW has finally revealed the real thing. The all-new grand tourer replaces the 6-series as Munich’s
flagship coupe, with the first two versions in showrooms this autumn, priced from £76,270.
The coupe resurrects a name last used in the ’90s for a wedgy coupe based on the 7-series. The only choice then was V8 or V12. But the 2018 8-series has a choice of diesel or petrol power, and the coupe will be joined by a four-door Gran Coupe and a two-door convertible, both expected before the end of next year.

There are two engines available for the time being - a 3.0-litre straight-six turbodiesel making 3i6bhp in the 84od, and a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 putting out 523bhp for the £100,045 M850L Those numbers suggest performance similar to a Porsche 911, but the 8-series is closer in size to a Mercedes-Benz CLS, albeit with two fewer doors. BMW must also have potential buyers of Aston’s more expensive DB11 grand tourer in its sights, and the Bentley Continental GT.

Both the 840d and M8soi get BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system, which sends all power to the rears under normal driving conditions for efficiency’s sake, and only loads the fronts if it detects any slithering. Both have an eight-speed paddleshift gearbox, and get BMW’s Integral Active Steering
(rear-wheel steering), which turns the rears in the opposite direction to the fronts at low speeds to reduce the turning circle, then turns them in the same direction as speed increases to improve stability.

Inside it’s standard top-end BMW fare, with few innovations. The seats are new, and there’s the latest version of iDrive infotainment in a high and wide centre console. Cruise control, a head-up display and active parking systems are standard.
You also get Live Cockpit Professional, which comprises a 12.3-inch instrument display and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen.

At the front, the slender headlights are new, and the kidney-shaped grille is unique to the 8-series. The rear end is dominated by two trapezoidal exhausts and a stack of horizontal lines designed to emphasise how low and wide the car is. And the roof has a hint of the double-bubble design of historic racing sports cars.

M Division's M8 version is due next year: expect around 650bhp from its, tuned V8

The arrival of the new 8-series gives BMW's naming policy a glimmer of logic.  The 2-, 4- and 8-series are two-door coupes and convertibles, unlike the 1-, 3-, 5- and 7-series. Neat. Except there are also MPV versions of the 2-series, and there's a four-door Gran Coupe version of the 4-series. The 6-series name complicates matters further by living on as what used to be the 5-series GT. And there's a four-door 8-series Gran Coupe coming...

> Engine 3.0-litre turbodiesel straight six
> Power/torque 316bhp/502lb ft.
> Performance 4.9sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 46.3mpg

> Engine 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
> Power torque 523bhp/553lb ft
> Performance 3.7sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 28.3mpg

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