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BMW’s plans for a new 8 Series may include an M8 performance model, too

It may have gone out of production in 1999, but the original BMW 8 Series still makes a statement. With its pointed nose and low-slung stance, the 8 Series was one of the most evocatively styled cars ever made by BMW. It was also one of the sportiest BMWs of its period, especially with the optional V12 engine.

Given the original car’s desirability, it’s not surprising that there have been many rumors of an 8 Series revival. The latest points to a car that will rival the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe as a luxury model, but will also be available in high-performance M8 guise. That comes from Britain’s Auto Express, which cites BMW’s attempt to trademark various 8 Series-related names, including “M8” and “M850,” and talks with anonymous sources within the company.

If BMW really does plan to make the 8 Series into an S-Class rival, then the new model will likely be based on the current 7 Series. Chassis, engines, and technology features could be shared by the two cars, just like they are in the S-Class coupe and sedan. The 8 Series would essentially put the features from the 7 Series in a more stylish package.

Read more: BMW builds a 600-hp M6 special edition for Japan

However, BMW’s move to trademark the name “M8” opens up some interesting possibilities. Mercedes offers AMG performance variants of the S-Class, but BMW does not do an M7, instead offering the less-intense M760i xDrive and Alpina B7. The Bavarian carmaker never offered an M8 version of the original 8 Series either; it built prototypes, but did not give the project the green light. If it makes it to production, this M8 would reportedly use the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 from the M6 and M6.

Speaking of the M6, any plans to revive the 8 Series would have an effect on BMW’s current 6 Series, which is offered as a coupe, convertible, and “Gran Coupe” four-door. The 6 Series is based on the 5 Series sedan, and doesn’t quite achieve the level of luxury of the 7 Series, but is still probably a bit too similar to the theoretical 8 Series to have a secure future.

The solution may be a previously-discussed plan to reposition the 6 Series as a true sports car. BMW could ditch the back seats and the Gran Coupe model, and create something aimed at the Porsche 911 and Mercedes-AMG GT. A car like that would remind consumers that BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine” tagline is more than just cynical ad copy.