BMW to revive 8-series plate in bid to rival S-Class, BentleyPOSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 24 February 2016
BMW have had enough of playing second fiddle to Mercedes-Benz and Bentley in the luxury coupe class.
The German company is reportedly set to resurrect the 8-Series line as its flagship to take on the M-B’s S-Class coupe, as well as Bentley’s Continental GT.
As the technological flagship, the new 8-Series should contain driveline components, multi-material architecture, electrical system and connectivity solutions closely related to those used by the recently introduced sixth-generation 7-Series.
While shrouded in secrecy, insiders at BMW’s R&D centre in Munich, Germany suggest that two differing layouts for the 8-Series have already been put before BMW chairman Harald Krueger, who is personally driving plans to extend the BMW line-up to include additional luxury models, Australian website drive.com.au reports.
The first adopts a four-door layout and is described as being “similar in concept to the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe only bigger and nobler in appearance”. An alternative layout calls for a more classic two-door coupe and cabriolet pairing.
A final decision on which direction BMW will take is expected to be officially showcased in a concept of the 8-Series in 2018.
Among the reasons behind Krueger’s push to extend BMW’s reach at the upper end of its line-up is the continued success and profitability of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and its various derivatives in key markets such as the USA and China.
Mercedes-Benz managed to shift more than 125,000 S-Class models in 2015. This compares with 36,364 sales of the BMW 7-Series.
With the introduction of the new sixth-generation model, BMW expects 7-Series sales to increase to around 70,000 in 2016, although officials acknowledge it will still trail the Mercedes-Benz S-Class for overall sales this year.
Rumours of a return for the 8-Series name stretch back to 2010, but bosses officially denied that any plans to bring back the nameplate existed in 2013, when the German firm unveiled the Pininfarina-designed Gran Lusso concept (main pic).
The original BMW 8-Series was introduced at a two-plus-two coupe in 1989 and remained in production until 1999.