Dingolfing, Germany - These two pictures of the new BMW 8 Series, due to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in a matter of days, have popped up on the official BMW e-zine site ‘Bimmertoday’, illustrating a feature about the group’s two plants in Lower Bavaria, at Dingolfing and Landshut, celebrating Dingolfing’s achievement in overtaking the Spartanburg plant to become BMW’s biggest producer with 367 000 Blue Propeller badges flying off the line in 2017.
Why that matters, is because Dingolfing is also where the 8 Series will be made, “further expanding the factory's role as the global competence centre for the BMW luxury class series” according to factory director Dr Andreas Wendt, and just down the road at Landshut is where the i8 coupé and the new i8 roadster are built. 2018, says BMW, is the year of the Eight.
Nice symbolism, guys. Now let’s talk about the real Eight - the 8 Series which, in Wendt’s words, will become a “central beacon of the BMW model offensive in the luxury segment”.
What these pictures show, under the light camouflage that will stay in place until 6 March, is the familiar shape of the Concept 8, only slightly diluted for production, with a very 1960s ‘double bubble’ roofline, a bolder, chunkier kidney grille than the rather apologetic versions we’ve been seeing on recent BMWs, and seriously heavy-duty rubber on big, two-tone alloys over distinctive blue brake callipers.
In short, a muscular two-door GT that’s not scared to stand up for itself, to be a bit more assertive. Given the company it will be competing in, that’s not a bad thing.
And what will it bring to the fight? BMW’s not saying yet, but insiders are expecting the line-up to be led by an 850i with the BMW’s stock-in-trade 4.4-litre TwinPower turbopetrol V8 under the bonnet, delivering 331kW (unless Wendt gets the M division petrol-heads to tweak it a little for this application).
We’re also betting on an 840i, wielding the superb B58 three-litre turbo straight six to the tune of 250kW from 5500-6500 revs and 450Nm from 1380-5200rpm.
And yes, there will be an M8 later; once again, nothing is official or confirmed but the cybergarage is expecting an M version of the M5's V8 with at least 447kW.