Le Mans, France - BMW’s 8 Series nameplate has been brought back to life as a replacement for the 6 Series Coupé, and it’s likely to go down as one of the better looking modern Beemers.

Revealed ahead of this year's Le Mans 24 Hour race, where the already-revealed M8 race car will compete in the GTE class, the new 8 Series Coupé will take the on-road competition to Merc’s S-Class Coupé, complete with a sleek new design and cutting-edge gadgets.

The 8 Series is set to grace South African shores from the first quarter of 2019 and only the M850i xDrive will be offered here - European buyers will also have the option of an 840d xDrive model, powered by a 3-litre turbodiesel with 235kW and 680Nm.

The M850i is motivated by a new 4.4-litre V8 engine, with turbochargers located within the ‘V’ shaped space between the cylinder banks. Compared with the current V8 equivalent, BMW has extensively redeveloped the ignition and engine electronics as well as the crankcase.

The result is a 50kW increase in power, to 390kW between 5500 and 6000rpm, while maximum torque of 750Nm is available from 1800 to 4600rpm.

That’s sufficient, brags BMW, to haul it from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.7 seconds.

Drive is shifted to all four wheels through an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission and a rear-biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system, featuring an electronically controlled differential lock.

What’s more, BMW’s Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers is standard on the 8 Series, as is Integral Active Steering, while an active roll stabilisation feature is available as an option.

Other M Performance bits and pieces that you’ll find on the M850i are 20-inch alloy wheels, M Sport brakes, M leather steering wheel, multifunction sports seats in Vernasca leather and mesh-style stainless steel interior trim strips.

Standard kit extends to BMW’s latest-generation 7.0 Operating System featuring a 26.6cm touchscreen (with voice, gesture and iDrive rotary control options), a 31.2cm digital instrument cluster and Head-Up Display

High end options include the BMW Display Key, wireless charging, climate seats, glass-encased controls and a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System.

On the driver assistance front, the 8 Series is available with Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Steering and Lane Control Assistant and the semi-autonomous Reverse Assistant.

There are some nifty digital features too, including vehicle-to-vehicle hazard warnings, over-the-air software upgrades and the BMW ‘Digital Key’ which allows owners to unlock and start the vehicle using their smartphone.

IOL Motoring