BMW has ended the never-ending tease, revealing the hotly-anticipated new 8 Series ahead of an Australian arrival next year.
UPDATE, 2/11/18: BMW Australia has confirmed it's expecting the 8 Series coupe and convertible during the first quarter of 2019. The convertible has been officially revealed, too, read more here.
This is the second-ever 8 Series, and the first of the 21st century. It's also the first without pop-up headlights, but we'll accept no new car is going to bring them back. Blame pedestrians and their silly, soft bodies for that one.
Along with the lack of pop-up headlights, the final design of the 8 Series isn't all that, well, different to the teasers and leaks we've already seen. Up front, the slim headlights and broad double-kidney grille is in keeping with the new BMW design language established on the latest X2, X5 and upcoming X7.
The headlights are clever too, on top of being pretty. They're LED units as standard – the slimmest ever fitted to a BMW – with LaserLight ones optional. Regardless of whether they're on low-beam, high-beam or daytime-running mode, they maintain the brand's four-ringed light signature.
Down back, slim LED tail-lights sit above a pair of huge exhaust pipes, while the rear spoiler is integrated into the boot lid. There's a hint of 6 Series about the look, but the slimmer lights and more aggressive details give the new 8er a more purposeful feeling. Let us know how you feel about it in the comments, but this particular author is a fan.
Beyond the stylistic stuff, the body is designed to be something of an aerodynamic showcase. The active air vents on the front grille close to improve aerodynamics, and open when the engine needs a blast of cool air, while the 'air breather' behind on the flanks cut down on turbulence from the wheel arches.
An ankle-breaking front splitter works with the rear spoiler to cut lift on both axles at speed, too. BMW loves carbon-fibre bits, so the CFRP roof and optional carbon exterior styling pack shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. As for whether they add to the car's looks? We'll leave that up to you.
Behind the wheel, the new 8 Series runs with a similar interior design to the new X5, albeit with a sportier focus in keeping with its two-door body style.
The driver is faced with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 10.25-inch freestanding iDrive display atop the centre console. Both central and driver displays are now running BMW OS7.0.
The usual gear 'wand', iDrive rotary controller and drive mode buttons live on the transmission tunnel. Climate controls are integrated into the air vents, just as they are on the X5, and rich trim materials abound.
A range of high-end options will be offered, ranging from a Bowers & Wilkins sound system to a flashy glass gear selector, while the usual array of leather, wood, metal and dual-tone colour schemes will be available.
Two powertrains will be offered in the 8 Series from launch, a petrol and a diesel. The petrol, badged M850i xDrive, draws on a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 390kW of power and 750Nm of torque, the latter of which is on tap between 1800 and 4600rpm. Combined with BMW's fast-spreading xDrive system, it's good for a 3.7-second sprint to 100km/h.
If diesel is more your style, the 840d xDrive is the alternative. It produces 235kW and 680Nm from its 3.0-litre displacement, for a 4.9-second run to 100km/h. BMW describes the oiler as "relaxed at low engine speeds" in its official materials, so we'd bank on the car emphasising the ideals of grand touring more than outright corner carving.
Regardless of engine, the 8er is offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It talks to the iDrive system and is aware of where the car is, meaning it can pre-emptively drop gears leading into a tight set of corners, or hang onto a gear on short straights, because it's knows what's coming up.
Clever tech, and more likely to be appreciated by an 8 Series driver than, say, the passengers in a Rolls-Royce, where the technology debuted.
Where the last 8 Series was exclusively offered with rear-wheel drive, the new one is xDrive (all-wheel drive in non-BMW speak) only. The system isn't quite as wild as M xDrive in the M5 – there's no full-rear-drive option, as you get in the 5er – but the official company materials go to great lengths to talk about how driver-focused and unobtrusive xDrive is on the limit. Time will tell on that one.
Working with xDrive are adaptive suspension and active rear-steering, along with brakes measuring 395mm up front in the M850i and 374mm at the front of the 840d, are designed to make the 8 Series stop, go and handle in a manner befitting a flagship BMW. Active anti-rollbars are on the options list, too.
The 8 Series go on sale in November... provided you live in Europe.
BMW's local division says it expects to see the 8 Series coupe, along with tis now-revealed convertible twin, during the first quarter of 2019.
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