All-new coupe surfaces on social media

The upcoming BMW 8 Series has been spied and leaked on social media this week, giving us a first look at the final version of the Bavarian marque's coupe flagship.

Several social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram posted the images, which show a white example of the sports luxury coupe on the factory floor, partially concealed by a white sheet.

Top: BMW 8 Series leaked photo, Bottom: BMW Concept 8 Series

It appears the vehicle in the images is an 850i with M Sport package - the badges on the boot also suggests that this vehicle has xDrive all-wheel drive - and the front and rear shots show how much of a resemblance the market version will have to the Concept 8 Series revealed last year.

While it's typical BMW fashion to preview upcoming models with very accurate concepts, there are subtle differences with the production vehicle.

The front and rear treatments are more upright and flatter than the contoured lines of the concept, while the lighting units are larger at both ends.

Also differentiating the two designs is the lower sides of the production vehicle, which appear thinner than the concept - which had a very muscular appearance. The angle of the shot, and lens distortion, may have a misleading visual effect, however.

Overall, the production 8 Series appears sleeker and slimmer.

Even the interior is fairly representing of the concept, with a similar centre stack design and dashboard layout. Much of the controls and switchgear borrow heavily from the 5 Series and 7 Series.

The digital driver's instrument interface and steering wheel have obviously been toned down, but it's clear BMW want to keep the 8 Series as close to the concept design as possible.

It's expected that the BMW 8 Series will be revealed at some point this year, which will also be joined by a go-faster M8 performance version shortly afterwards - though the latter isn't likely to hit the market until next year.

A range of turbocharged six- and eight-cylinder are likely, along with a potential appearance by the twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 from the M760Li xDrive - BMW hasn't offered a 12-cylinder coupe since the original 8 Series in the 1990s.

The Frankfurt motor show in September would be a logical punt - considering the original 8 Series was revealed at the 1989 event - though it's all speculation at this stage.

Meanwhile, the M8 has been previewed with the M8 GTE racing car, which also signals the company's return to the Le Mans 24 Hours event after a seven-year hiatus.

What do you think of the BMW 8 Series?