BMW M8. It’s a badge we’ve never seen on the back of a production BMW before, but one that came achingly close to the showroom back in the 1990s.
But good things come to those who wait, and just a day after revealing its sleek, boldy-styled Concept 8 Series at the Concorsco d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, BMW has confirmed that its modern-day reboot of the 8 Series will also spawn a firebreathing M8 flagship.
BMW is keeping the powder dry for now on tech details. Engine specifications, power and torque outputs and even whether the M8 will follow in the new M5’s footsteps and adopt an all-wheel drive layout are all secret.
What we can tell from these images of the M8’s camouflaged pre-production prototype, however, is that familiar BMW M hallmarks of deeper air intakes, hefty brake hardware and a quad-tipped exhaust system will adorn the new M8.
The engine is likely to a development of the new BMW M5’s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8. As the flagship of BMW’s product portfolio - and as the effective replacement of the BMW M6 - we wouldn’t expect it to at least equal the 2018 BMW M5’s 450kW-odd power output.
“The conception and development of the standard BMW 8 Series and the M model run in parallel,” said Frank van Meel, president of BMW’s M Division.
“The future BMW M8 will build on the genes of the 8 Series and augment its DNA with added track ability and generous extra portions of dynamic sharpness, precision and agility.”
And it won’t be restricted to the road either. Though the road-going model is making its first public appearance at the Nurburgring 24-hour race this weekend in an on-track driving presentation, the M8 will morph into a fully-fledged GTE-class race car later this year.
The BMW M8 GTE will be the German brand’s primary weapon in its return to Le Mans in 2018, and is set to make its competition debut at the Daytona 24 Hours in late January next year.
“The BMW M8 GTE development programme for our Le Mans comeback is in full swing,” BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt said.
“Developing a new racing car is always exciting, and in the case of the BMW M8 GTE the anticipation is that much greater still.”