BMW M8 Prototype: Munich Forecasts New Peak Performer at Nurburgring

BMW M8 Villa d'Este concept

Two days after BMW unveiled the Concept 8-series at the famous Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Italy’s Lake Como, it’s using the 24-hour sports-car race at the Nürburgring to preview the hottest new 8-series coupe: the M8.

Unlike the Como concept, this prototype was entirely covered with camouflage wrap, so the presentation was more of an aural than a visual treat. What we could see were fat tires, large aerodynamic addenda, four round exhaust tips, typical M-spec mirrors, and huge air intakes. Behind the intakes is a powerplant that is hungry for air, both to ingest and for cooling: the next-gen twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that probably will make something north of 600 horsepower. This is the same engine that powers the next M5, and it will be mated solely to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive will be standard, although drivers will be able to select a rear-wheel-drive mode to induce powerslides or to drift at will.

The M8, we’re advised, will be at least 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing M6 it replaces. While the new M8 will be the spiritual successor of the M6, there is a historical precursor that was called M8. It was a prototype derivative of the 1990s-era 8-series, fitted with a 6.0-liter V-12 rated at about 540 horsepower and equipped with a manual transmission. BMW decided against building it and went for the 850CSi instead.

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There is a good reason for the Nürburgring to serve as the venue for this car’s announcement. That’s because BMW will build a racing version of the new M8 called the M8 GTE, which is set to make its competition debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona next January—months before the roadgoing car comes to market.

BMW M8 Villa d'Este concept


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