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First look: BMW revives 8 Series

Low-slung: CS is even lower than CLS.

BMW's CS coupe-sedan concept could preview a revival of the 8 Series nameplate

20 Apr 2007

BMW has pulled yet another surprise out of its corporate hat by using Friday’s Shanghai motor show opening to reveal its widely anticipated answer to top-shelf four-door "coupes" like the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the forthcoming Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.

The CS concept not only heralds a new design direction for BMW, but confirms the Munich maker intends to go even further upmarket than its 7 Series sedan flagship via this low-slung grand tourer that will further close the gap between BMW’s own models and the million-dollar Rolls-Royce models it also produces.

14 center imageThough the CS has not been confirmed for production, BMW does not build concept cars for fun. But exactly what nameplate the CS will carry when it hits the road around the end of this decade is the subject of great debate.

While speculation that BMW would unveil a successor for its left-hand drive-only Z8 roadster in the shape of an all-new so-called Z9 at Shanghai has proved wide of the mark, the CS could morph into a belated replacement for the overweight, under-selling 8 Series coupe.

Others suggest the CS will become the next-generation 6 Series, which will be made available in both two-door coupe and convertible – and four-door sedan – bodystyles.

Either way, the CS provides the first public glimpse of the high-end luxury sedan project that has been known internally as the Sports Luxury Concept (SLC). As well as previewing a new BMW corporate design direction, the CS also gives a sneak-peak at the redesigned 7 Series sedan, due on sale in 2009.

The X5-based X6, a high-riding four-door crossover “coupe” due to appear at the Frankfurt motor show ahead of its 2008 release, may also incorporate elements of the CS look.

The 8 Series (if that’s what it will be called) will be built on a modified version of the all-new 7 Series, and should offer V8 and V10 firepower.

Also widely speculated is a new high-revving 6.0-litre V12 to power the flagship M8. The new 12-cylinder engine is odds-on to be yet another development of the M5/M6’s 5.0-litre V10, the first in a family of high-revving Vee engines that also spawned the upcoming M3’s 4.0-litre V8.

The four-seater CS concept rides on 21-inch wheels and a wheelbase that’s more than three metres long. It’s about 60mm longer than the current 7 Series at 5.1 metres. More significantly, however, it’s both 80mm wider and 100mm lower than the current Seven, as well as about 30mm lower than the CLS.

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