BMW dealers are having a problem with the 8 Series. The returning flagship appears to be a bit too rich for North American tastes and retailers are growing annoyed.
According to Automotive News, retailers are upset that BMW didn’t issue enough marketing support to make the public aware that it even exists, and feel that the amount of configuration available works against the vehicle. As a result, many dealerships are sitting on expensive halo vehicles nobody seems to want; the 8 Series now has the highest day supply of any BMW model currently produced.
While we got an early peek of the new 8 Series Gran Coupe via some leaked photos, the full lineup has now been revealed by BMW. The entry level 8 Series will be in the form of the rear-wheel drive 840i. With the 340 hp turbo inline-6, the cost of entry begins at $84,990, plus $995 destination. Meanwhile, the M850i xDrive will start at $109,895.
On many cars, the design of the rear seems like an afterthought — or possibly a feature designed by a separate team from the front. Either way, it’s rare that a rear end is the most striking part of a car’s design. Here, though, BMW has crafted such complexity and visual strength, that I find myself continuing to stare at the rear ¾ view.
In case you weren’t sure if BMW was going to fill the gaping hole left in its lineup by the departure of the 6 Series Gran Coupe, early official photos have confirmed that it will. Recently leaked photos of the 8 Series Gran Coupe were confirmed by BMW to Car and Driver to be real and valid, coming ahead of the official unveiling on June 18th.
It was only a handful of weeks after the returning 8 Series Coupe went on sale that BMW thought to release a celebratory one-off that incorporated real hunks of meteorite into the interior design. Well, BMW Individual is back at it again to produce another special edition.
Called the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe First Edition, it’s the obligatory aesthetic overhaul the brand likes to impose on most of its high-profile models in their first year. For the 8 Series, that means a limited run of the exclusive “Frozen Barcelona Blue” metallic paint and 20-inch, M-badged alloy wheels in onyx. The chrome detailing has also been substituted for a high-gloss black on the window frames, vents, grille, and tailpipes.
The 8 Series is a car that, given the market’s current direction, probably shouldn’t exist. Low, long, and wide, it’s the polar opposite of the vanilla crossovers that permeate parking lots and power centers. This is precisely what makes it, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe, magnificent machines.
Just four months after production of the 8 Series coupe ramped up, that model is joined by a droptop version. BMW chooses to call it a “textile” soft top, one that’s able to let the world’s richest extroverts and exhibitionists soak up the sun’s rays in less than fifteen seconds.
BMW’s new flagship model, the returning 8 Series, has officially entered production in Dingolfing, Germany. However, if you’re interested in one, you’d better check your business card for the applicable tags — words like chairman, president, or doctor. The model starts at a sizable $111,900, plus a $995 delivery fee.
If you find yourself lacking those credentials or the necessary income, we can recommend the slightly less ostentatious 6 Series and a helping of shame, as you’re clearly not the kind of earner you’ve aspired to be.
Of course, if you purchase the 6 Series Coupe you’ll be stuck buying last year’s leftovers and missing out on prestige and power — and we don’t mean symbolically. The base M850i comes with BMW’s 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 and 523 horsepower with 553 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the base 640i comes with an inline 3.0-liter powerplant. While you can upgrade to the 650i and its 4.4-liter V8, the unit will still be almost 100 ponies shy of what the 8 Series brings to the table.
BMW is still banging the drum for the upcoming 8 Series, which is understandable. Resurrecting the flagship coupe is big news for the brand and the model has been hotly anticipated since the concept vehicle appeared at 2017’s Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach. Unfortunately, camouflaged prototypes (below) show the pre-production version hosting some watered-down styling. While slightly disappointing, it’s understandable that BMW would stray from the extravagant folds of the concept car.
This week, the company gave us our best look to date of the returning model, along with an announcement stating the automaker will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since 2011 — where it plans to premiere the 8 Series coupe. We already have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
BMW’s 8 Series coupe isn’t even here yet and the automaker is already toying with the idea of a sedan. Of course, in true luxury automaker fashion, it’s calling the four-door concept a Gran Coupe — proving once again that the language has evolved to a point where it is as fluid as it is meaningless.
Officially dubbed the “BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe,” the sedan offers a conceptual glimpse at a performance variant of the brand’s returning 8 Series. The plan appears to be: build something that can compete with, and perhaps trump, Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class. But if you’re going to take on the big boys, you need to come at them with everything you have. That means a base model 8 Series coupe with double-wishbone suspension, rear-wheel steering, adaptive suspension, xDrive, gobs of tech, and a strong motor.
However, you’ll also need a nasty four-door M variant with all of that and a rip-roaring engine, larger air intakes, flared fenders, and a carbon fiber rooftop.
BMW confirmed the crap out of the M8’s existence this weekend, going so far as to provide its own spy shots of a test prototype wearing camouflaged wraps. Being developed alongside the standard 8 Series, the automaker says the M8 will be unveiled in a driving presentation during the Nürburgring 24-hour race.
The brand also stated that development is ongoing for the GTE racer that will herald the return of the company’s Motorsport division to Le Mans. “The BMW M8 GTE development programme for our Le Mans comeback is in full swing,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “Developing a new racing car is always exciting, and in the case of the BMW M8 GTE the anticipation is that much greater still. We can’t reveal any pictures yet, but I can promise you that the BMW M8 GTE will look spectacular. We are planning an initial roll-out for the first half of this year and are looking at giving the car its race debut in the Daytona 24 Hours in late January 2018.”