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BMW unveils an 8 Series flagship range to rival Porsche and Merc-AMG GTs

By Paul Connolly

BMW grabbed the headlines at the Geneva Motor Show by unveiling a new performance-orientated 8 Series flagship range.

Although officially a high-performance M8 Gran Coupe was present in Concept form, the car was there in the metal; proof that the final car will likely look very much like the one that wowed the Geneva faithful.

It’s a high-performance machine to rival luxury sports cars like the £115k Porsche Panamera Turbo and the circa £90k Mercedes-AMG GT.

BMW has confirmed that a production version of the M8 Gran Coupe will arrive in 2019 as the pinnacle of a new 8 Series range of Gran Coupes.

BMW’s Adrian van Hooydonk said: “The BMW 8 Series will take over as the new flagship model of the BMW line-up and, as such, combines unsurpassed sportiness and elegance.

“The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe offers a look ahead to the most exotic and alluring variant of the new BMW 8 Series.”

BMW has revealed little about engines or technology, and no inside images or viewing were available - but it has released significant detail about the car’s exterior design.

Low to the road, and broad in stance, the front end of the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe is muscular and promises a high end, high performance experience.

The contours of the radiator grille kidneys broaden as they descend towards the road, emphasising the car’s low centre of gravity.

As on early BMW coupes, the kidney elements are linked by an unbroken grille surround, creating a large single element.

Brawny air intakes in carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) guide the air to where it is required and reinforce the ‘hot’ feel of the car.

A long wheelbase, long bonnet, flowing roofline and short tail create a sporty coupe silhouette.

The roof flows from the C-pillars into the rear by means of sculpted fins set off above flared wheel arches.

The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe has a roof made from carbon fibre reinforced polymer – which lowers the car’s centre of gravity both visually and physically – and aerodynamically optimised exterior mirrors.

The rear of the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe reveals twin sets of M exhaust tailpipes, the car’s wide track, a prominent diffuser and a rear spoiler.

Slim, sculpted rear lights with black glass covers underscore  its wide stance on the road.

“The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe is designed to stir things up, to polarise – it should move you emotionally,” BMW design expert Domagoj Dukec.

“With this car we want to reach people who are looking for something special and who want to stand out from the crowd.

“Here, BMW M is unmistakably taking luxury out of its comfort zone.”

BMW previously produced an 8 Series – a Grand Tourer range – from 1989 to 1999. However, it discontinued the range due to low demand.

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