Descended from BMW's curvy 1930s coupes, the handsome, sweeping 8 Series Coupe set hearts a-flutter when it debuted at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show. This dreamboat has been out of production since the last one rolled off the line in '99. Now the rumor mills are turning, and spy photos attest that the 8-Series is on its way back.
Also known as the E31, BMW's full-size luxury coupe brought top of the line comfort, performance, and technology. Fans of the 8 Series dreamily recall the model's pop-up headlights, retro cool looks, and 5-liter V12 engine barrelling down the road with the power of 375 horses. TopGear recalls that the 8 Series also had seats with an integrated belt system, an electrically-adjustable steering column with memory function, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote locking, and a high performance (for the 90s) onboard computer running the show. Given today's technological possibilities, we can only imagine what kinds of toys BMW would put in its new coupe.
Here's a closer look at what the BMW 8 Series looked like in the early 90s:
This is not the first time we've heard rumors of the grand tourer's return. The difference is that this time the news is coming from a reputable source: Germany's Automobilwoche, a sister publication to Automotive News. Sources say that we will see the coupe in the latter half of 2018, with a convertible version following a year after that. BMW is apparently considering an optional V12 engine as well as a high-performance M option. TopGear reports that the new 8 Series will fit neatly between the 7 Series and Rolls-Royce Wraith, with a pricetag starting from about $165,000.
If the 8 Series comes back, this could be BMW's chance to catch up to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet, says Maxim. So far, BMW's 6 Series has been lagging behind its closest competitor. Auto Motor Sport International compared the BMW 650i and the Mercedes S 500 Coupe, noting that while both cars performed magnificently on the road and the 650i's steering and maneuverability won out, the S-Class outdid the BMW in terms of interior comfort (even for long-term driving), all around spaciousness, and a super quiet ride.
There is always room for improvement, and fans of the 8 Series can hope that BMW will choose to put its engineering team to work decking out the next generation of their beloved full-size coupe. No design details have been confirmed as of yet for the coming 8 Series. We can only hope that news of its development will trickle out steadily over the coming year.