The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe is the work of Domagoj Dukec, otherwise known as DD, and his team. An eight-year BMW veteran, the Croatian was recently put in charge of the company’s i and M sub-brands. Due in July 2019, the 8 Series Gran Coupe, dubbed G16, will follow the July 2018 arrival of the 8 Series Convertible and the October 2018 arrival of the 8 Series Coupe.
“We made the Hofmeister kink part of the rear door to eliminate that ungainly panel in the C-post, pulled the front shutline of the engine compartment cover all the way forward to the kidney and the lights, and created a rear end which looks elegant and muscular while providing all the downforce engineering could ask for,” says Dukec.
Both the Coupe and Gran Coupe will later be offered in M8 flavor, featuring a track-tested 650-horsepower twin-turbo V-8. Unique to the M8 design are three-pronged lower air intakes and wider front and rear tracks. The wide-bodied, road-hugging stance is bound to look mean in the rearview mirror of a car in front of it, and the four fat tailpipes can either be neighbor-friendly quiet or hooligan-grade loud.
The M8s also get bespoke bumpers, flares, and sill profiles. The concept rolls on 21-inch wheels, but the aerodynamically inefficient duotone design is unlikely to make it to production. While the BMW M8 goes without active aerodynamics, it is equipped with fully functional air curtains that help vent the wheelhouses.
“The M cars speak a different body language,” says Dukec. “They display flares and bulges and lips, they run on the biggest wheels and sit closest to the ground, and their proportions are even more emotional.”
Attention-grabbing details spotted on the show car include galvanized rose trim, a so-called flip-flop paint job that appears metallic green from some angles and blue from another, and four U-shaped yellow LED headlights that would have worked just fine on a domestic market 1975 Citroen DS.
“This car stands for a new type of performance-oriented luxury,” explains the designer. “The warm yellow headlamps are an emotive antithesis to the cold white LEDs with their piercing blue ultra-intensity. The chromaflair paint demonstrates what our Individual division is capable of. And the brightwork that isn’t really bright anymore replaces overt bling with a subtle touch of high-quality craftsmanship. Every little detail on this car is like a sculpture, a 3D object, a piece of understated jewelry.”
With an expected weight of roughly 4,000 pounds, the M8 Gran Coupe’s favorable power-to-weight ratio should not only show on the stopwatch, it is also bound to improve handling, maneuverability and lap times. As far as the top speed goes, the optional driver’s package pushes the limit from 155 mph to 191 mph.
The rest of the 8 Series lineup will start with the 840i, which is powered by the familiar inline six which delivers 320 hp in the 740i. Next in the Freude-durch-Kraft hierarchy is the M850i, which will be powered by the M550i’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, which today is good for 456 hp. ZF’s eight-speed transmission once again handles shifting duties.
On-demand all-wheel drive with four-wheel torque vectoring is part of the package here, as are variable-rate power steering, a limited-slip differential, the increasingly popular rear-wheel steering (V-8s only), and available carbon-ceramic brakes. Underneath, the 8 Series receives steel springs mated to electronically controlled dampers.
Right now, BMW does not intend to take the 8 Series down the PHEV road, but if it must, there are two suitable applications still in their infancy—one for the 840i, rated at 420 hp, and one for the M version, at 570 hp. In both cases, the combustion engine is the familiar straight six.
The halo car will be priced above the 7 Series, with the premium for it being around $40,000, sources say. So expect to pay about $125,000 for an 840i and close to $200,000 for a fully loaded four-door M8.