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BMW 8 Series Coupe given racy debut

V8 petrol and diesel options for halo car on roads in November

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The production version of the BMW 8 Series coupe has been unveiled at the Le Mans 24 Hours race.

Dealers have already opened order books, at prices starting from £76,270. Built at the brand’s Dingolfing plant, which also produces the 7 Series, the 8 Series is expected on the roads from November.

Described by its makers as “the start of a new chapter in BMW’s long and illustrious history of making iconic and sensational sports cars” and “one of the most exciting new models to emerge in years”, the new coupe continues a BMW tradition of reserving the 8 designation for its top-level cars – previous examples include the Z8 roadster and the current i8 electric coupe.

It has been developed alongside the BMW M8 GTE world endurance racer, which gave BMW good reason to unveil the production car at Le Mans, the blue riband event of entrance racing.

Initially, the 8 Series will be available with two engine options – the entry 840d will use a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel engine with 320hp and 680Nm of torque. While capable of a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds, it will also return 46mpg with CO2 emissions of 160g/km.

The lead M850i, costing from £100,045, will employ BMW’s latest 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine, at 530hp 68 horses more powerful than the unit it replaces, and with 750Nm of torque, up by 100Nm. Hitting 62mph from rest in 3.7 seconds, it is quoted at 28.3mpg and with emissions of 228g/km.

BMW 8 Series The Car Expert

Both engines are matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The transmission has undergone several improvements including reduced weight, an updated electronic controller and revised ratios. This has helped efficiency by reducing engine speeds.

The transmission also boasts steering-wheel shift paddles for manual control and a launch-control function to enable the most potent acceleration from a standing start.

The all-wheel drive system is rear-biased, with all its torque directed to the rear wheels except when conditions demand more grip on the front axle.

Technology features heavily in the 8 Series – particularly in terms of safety and connectivity. A suite of driver assistance systems under the title of BMW Personal Co-Pilot includes camera, ultrasonic and radar detectors. Cruise control with autonomous braking is standard, as is collision and pedestrian warning, and a head-up display.

Connectivity services include a digital personal mobility assistant service, that integrates with smartphone compatibility extending across Apple and Android devices, as well as Alexa and Google smart devices. It even integrates with Microsoft Office software.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.