BMW has dropped the first details on its new 8-Series ahead of the car's debut in June at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 8-Series will mark BMW's return to the French classic, with a dedicated race version set to compete in the GTE class for production-based cars.
The road-going 8-Series has now reached the final stage of development and will be in European showrooms by the end of the year, BMW confirmed Thursday. An arrival in the United States is not expected until the first half of 2019, meaning we could see the car arrive as a 2020 model.
At the top of the range, at least until an M8 arrives, will be an M850i xDrive, combining V-8 performance and all-wheel-drive traction. The M850i xDrive is an M Performance model, so it gets a number of enhancements developed by the M division including a rear differential lock as well as sport-tuned suspension and steering.
Under the hood sits BMW's familiar 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, which gets paired up with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The engine is tuned to deliver 530 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque in this latest application and should result in 0-60 mph acceleration figures of around 4.0 seconds.
The M850i xDrive is in its most potent form when the driving mode selector is switched to Sport+. Here the engine is in its most aggressive setting, as are numerous additional elements such as the electronically controlled dampers, transmission logic, stability control system and all-wheel drive.
Beyond the impressive drivetrain, BMW says 8-Series owners can also look forward to a low center of gravity and a stiff body and chassis. Underpinning the car is BMW's CLAR modular platform that debuted in the 2016 7-Series. Although BMW is yet to confirm it, we're expecting the CLAR's carbon core lightweight construction to feature in the 8-Series. So far it's only found in the 7-Series.
Production of the 8-Series in coupe guise will start at BMW’s main plant in Dingolfing, Germany later this year. The coupe will be joined shortly by an 8-Series Convertible and an 8-Series Gran Coupe sedan, and all three body styles will be offered in high-performance M8 trim. M8 versions will also come with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 but with output hovering above 600 hp.