BMW’s Munich-brewed answer to the Porsche Panamera takes shape

Last year, BMW announced plans to resurrect the 8 Series nameplate after a nearly 20-year hiatus. We saw the modern-day 8 Series coupe turn heads as a concept car, and later watched it set the Daytona track ablaze as a race car. At this month’s Geneva Auto Show, we got a thinly disguised preview of a four-door 8 Series with a fastback-like roofline.

If you’re in need of a brief refresher course, BMW is in the process of turning the 6 Series into the 8 Series. The concept will take the torch from the 6 Series Gran Coupe, an aging model quickly approaching the end of its life cycle. Meanwhile, the 6 Series nameplate lives on as a hatchback-sedan cross that replaces the 5 Series Gran Turismo.

Up to speed? Good. The star of BMW’s booth at the annual Geneva show takes the form of a four-door sedan with a long hood and an even longer roofline that gently flows into a spoiler integrated into the trunk lid. It looks like the Munich-based firm’s answer to the Porsche Panamera. When built, it will also compete in the same segment as Mercedes-AMG’s first stand-alone sedan, which made its debut as a production car at the Geneva show.

BMW didn’t release technical specifications. British magazine Autocar reports the concept — which wears the M8 nameplate — receives an evolution of the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that powers the latest M5. In this application, it places 600 horsepower under the driver’s right foot. The eight-cylinder shifts through an automatic transmission, but we don’t know whether it sends its power to the rear wheels or to all four wheels. It could offer both configurations by adopting the M5’s clever on-demand setup.

Covering auto shows around the world has taught us that, with the exception of the stunning Villa d’Este show cars, BMW rarely builds a concept just for kicks. If you see it on the show floor, odds are it’s already well on its way to production behind the scenes. BMW confirmed our suspicions. The 8 Series Gran Coupe and the higher-performance M8 Gran Coupe will join the coupe and convertible models before the end of next year.

Update: Added live photos and official information.

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