With the global economy best described as tenuous and ever-more-stringent fuel economy and emission regulations looming, launching an all-new twin-turbo V-8 supercar hardly sounds like a wise business decision for a major automaker.
Despite this, rumors of a new supercar from BMW, to be called the M8, persist. Most recently, they’ve been raised by Italy’s Auto Blog
, which reports that the project to build the long-anticipated successor to the BMW M1
is indeed moving forward.
Earlier reports seemed to indicate that the M8 would get a proprietary steel and aluminum chassis
, but that idea seems to have been shelved. As we reported last November
, the BMW i8’s aluminum and carbon fiber chassis will be repurposed for use in the M8.
To avoid any kind of conflict between the two BMW halo cars, the i8 plug-in performance hybrid
will go on sale first, in 2014, with the launch of the gasoline-powered M8 delayed until 2016. That’s just one year away from BMW’s centennial year, 2017, which would make the M8 an impressive birthday gift from BMW to its fans.
Expect the M8 to get a version of BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8, borrowed from the M5 and M6. In M8 tune, however, the engine is expected to produce over 600 horsepower, delivering a 0-60 mph time in the three second range, along with a top speed of nearly 200 mph.
The M8 will reportedly focus on paring back weight, too, and could end up tipping the scale at a svelte 1,280 kilograms (2,816 pounds), which is the weight of the BMW i8 less its batteries and electric motor.
Since the 4.4-liter V-8 will weigh more than the i8’s 1.5-liter triple, a more accurate projection of curb weight is probably in the neighborhood of 3,000 pounds, which is still lighter than the Ferrari 458 Italia or the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG..
If so, the car should be capable of stunning performance. We’d hold off writing that deposit check just yet, since there are still plenty of obstacles to the M8’s development, not the least of which is global new car sales.
While the M8, if launched, will never contribute substantially to BMW’s bottom line, it will make a key contribution to BMW’s image. If the rest of its products are selling well globally, that’s an investment that BMW can likely justify.