It's finally happening, folks. BMW will dust off the 8 Series badge for a new swoopy coupe the automotive world has been waiting for basically ever since the original model's demise back in 1999. The venue chosen for the model's premiere is the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the wraps will come off Friday, June 15. The press release issued today confirms a rumor from early April that was based on a bulletin sent by the company to its sales representatives about the plan to unveil the production-ready car during the endurance race.
A new teaser image shows the road-going BMW 8 Series Coupe in a shadowy background sitting next to the track-only M8 GTE. The 6 Series Coupe direct replacement has been developed parallel to the race car, which we will get to see in action during the grueling 24-hour race at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe for the 86th edition of the racing marathon.
Don't expect to see the M8 from day one, but the good news is BMW will unveil the next best thing: the M850i xDrive. It might just be the car depicted in the adjacent teaser image, a high-spec version of the 8 Series already confirmed to feature a "completely redeveloped" V8 engine with 523 horsepower (390 kilowatts) and 553 pound-feet (750 Newton-meters) of torque. As the name of the model implies, it will feature all-wheel drive with power channeled to the road through a revised eight-speed automatic promising to deliver quicker gear shifts.
BMW goes on to specify the M850i xDrive will ride on 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in high-performance tires and it also going to benefit from all-wheel steering. Other goodies on the menu include an adaptive M suspension (with active roll stabilization) and rear axle differential lock.
For those who would rather patiently wait for the M8, BMW has promised it will unveil the crown jewel of the range later in 2018. Best case scenario, we'll get to see it at the Paris Motor Show in October. An 8 Series Convertible is also on the agenda, and it will bring along an M8 flavor as well. Later on, a more practical 8 Series Gran Coupe together with an equivalent M8 will complete the family portrait.