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BMW reveals M8 prototype

New BMW flagship 8 Series coupe to get range-topping M8 variant

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BMW logo29 May 2017

By ROBBIE WALLIS

SHORTLY after confirming the revival of the 8 Series coupe, BMW has announced it will be giving its halo model a hot M8 variant which is being developed alongside a race-spec M8 GTE that will compete in the likes of the Le Mans 24 Hour race.

Camouflaged photos have revealed the M8 prototype testing on the Nurburgring, showing some design flairs with a distinctly M flavour.

Sporting a logo that says “Too Many Secrets”, the M8 feature quad-tip exhausts, large front air intakes, low-profile tyres with large wheels and M division’s signature blue brake callipers.

An idea of what the regular 8 Series coupe will look like was given with the reveal of the Concept 8 Series last week, with BMW having a track record of production designs staying faithful to the looks of their preceding concepts.

No specification details have been released with the M8 photographs, so speculation is still rife on what drivetrain set-up will underpin the new super coupe.

The most likely powertrain is the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that powers the M5 and M6, which is rumoured to make 458kW of power and over 700Nm of torque in the new-generation M5.

Another, less likely option is the 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 that powers the soon-to-be-released M760Li xDrive, which would be a fitting nod to the original 8 Series of the 1990s which used 12-cylinder power in the 850i and prototype M8 – the latter of which never made it to production.

An eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission as seen in the new M5 would make for the most logical transmission choice, while the M8 will probably use the rear-biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system from the new M5.

BMW Munich product expert Sven Arens has previously told GoAuto that difficulties can arise in getting power down to only the rear wheels when an engine starts producing more than 700Nm of torque, a figure which the M8 is expected to exceed.

The M8 is not likely to be available until 2019, but BMW Australia has indicated it is definitely putting its hand up for allocation of the M8 given the strong sales performance of M-branded cars Down Under.

BMW M division president Frank can Meel said the M8 was being developed at the same time as the rest of the 8 Series passenger range.

“The conception and development of the standard BMW 8 Series and the M model run in parallel,” he 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.” The M8 GTE racecar is expected in the first half of the year ahead of a race debut at the Daytona 24 Hours in January next year.

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