Alongside the standard 8 Series, BMW is developing an M8 performance model upon which the new M8 GTE race car is based. A camouflaged prototype of the road-going M8 was unveiled just before the start of this year’s 24-hour race at the Nurburgring, although we probably won’t see the finished product until later this year, at least.
This will be the first official BMW M8 production model. BMW never sold an M version of the original 8 Series, which was available in the United States from 1989 to 1997, although it did build a one-off prototype with the 6.0-liter V12 from the McLaren F1. Left Lane News reports the M8 road car will use an updated version of the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 found in the latest M5. Here’s where things really get interesting. While the new M5 makes a tremendous 600 horsepower, the M8 will reportedly kick things up several notches to an eye-watering 700 horses.
In addition to mountains of power, the M8 is expected to use an eight-speed automatic transmission and the M5’s new xDrive system (which can switch between rear and all-wheel drive as needed). These features should enable the M8 coupe to reach 60 mph in 3.0 seconds or less. BMW also plans to build convertible and four-door coupe versions of the M8, though it’s unclear if these will be available right when the M8 coupe goes on sale.
The M8 won’t just be stupid fast either; it may very well be the most luxurious BMW M car ever. Competing against the likes of the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe, Bentley Continental GT, and Aston Martin’s DB11, the M8 will swing for the premium fences. BMW has never built an M car for this rarefied realm before, so the M8 should be something special.
Based on the M8, BMW’s M8 GTE race car that was unveiled at this month’s Frankfurt Motor Show looks ready for action. The M8 GTE will bring BMW back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018, competing in the GTE class for production-based cars. The M8 will also race in the U.S.-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GTLM class, likely replacing the current M6 GT3 in the series. The M8 GTE/GTLM will debut in January at the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, and make its first Le Mans appearance the following June.
BMW will unveil the standard 8 Series production model later this year, but it’s unclear whether the M8 will debut alongside it, or at some later date. The standard 8 Series will start production in 2018, likely making it a 2019 model. Expect BMW to wait a bit before launching the M8, meaning the performance model might not appear until late 2018, or early 2019.
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