There’s a new 8-Series coming, and this time around BMW M will launch its own high-performance version of the car: the M8.
BMW rolled out a prototype for the M8 during May’s 2017 M Festival held at the Nürburgring, and confirmed that an M8 race car is being developed for the 2018 seasons of the United SportsCar Championship and World Endurance Championship. The latter includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
We now have new photos and video of some M8 prototypes testing at the ‘Ring. The car looks like the earlier prototypes we saw for the regular 8-Series though there are a few differences.
The laser headlights are now exposed and beneath these are much larger intakes. Openings on the flanks hint at a vertical vent on the trailing edge of the front fenders, while at the rear are the M division’s signature quad-pipe arrangement for the exhaust tips. One of the shots also shows the M8 next to an M3, revealing just how much wider and more imposing the M8 will be compared to its lesser sibling. This is helped along by the massive wheels and tires.
A peek inside reveals a layout that closely follows the design previewed in the 8-Series concept unveiled at May’s 2017 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy.
BMW M hasn’t revealed any of the M8’s specs though we know the car rides on a version of the CLAR modular platform that debuted in the 2016 7-Series.
2020 BMW M8 spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Under the hood and mounted close to the firewall should be the reworked 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 debuting this year in the new M5. The prototype sounded very mean at its M Festival debut. Expect the engine to be paired with an 8-speed automatic and the M division’s new M xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
BMW will unveil its new 8-Series in 2018. The M8 should trail the regular coupe by about a year. Further out we might see an M8 Convertible based on the planned 8-Series Convertible.
The original 8-Series sold in the 1990s was meant to have its own M8 version, too. A prototype featuring a 6.0-liter V-12 was built though the project was canned at the last minute due to low expected demand. The car’s engine lived on, however, in McLaren’s F1 supercar.