From £71,4758
BMW flagship returns after a 20-year hiatus to inject some glamour into the brand

Approaching three decades after the introduction of the original ‘E31’ 8 Series and nearly two after its retirement, BMW has returned to the big GT coupé market. The second-generation 8 Series – BMW’s elegant, continent-crossing two-door flagship – is here.

Key to Munich’s strategy of boosting its profile among upper-level luxury car makers and their customers by shifting its model portfolio back towards bigger, grander and more upmarket products, the new ‘G15’-generation two-door Coupe will be part of a wider 8 Series family that will also include the upcoming ‘G14’ Convertible and ‘G16’ four-door Gran Coupe. It’s a successor to the 6 Series Coupe, two full model generations of which have gone some way to filling the vacuum that the original 8 Series left when it was discontinued in 1999.

Blue accents are the clearest sign that someone has splashed out on the Laserlight LED headlights (part of the £1500 Visibility pack). Our test jury thought they looked a bit gaudy.

A nomenclative reference to a predecessor model that departed the scene so long ago might not mean much to many, yet the average GT coupé customer should be old enough to remember the pop-up headlights and pioneering technological character of the E31. One of Munich’s first computer-designed production cars, the first 8 Series was also the first BMW with a fully electronic ‘by-wire’ throttle and one of the first with multi-link rear suspension.

A certain standard on technological innovation and sophistication might reasonably be expected of the new G15, then; and, with four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, active anti-roll bars and BMW’s latest infotainment and driver assistance technologies, it doesn’t look set to disappoint.

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BMW UK is offering the car with a choice of 523bhp twin-turbo V8 petrol or 315bhp twin-turbo diesel straight-six engines, neither of which needs longer than five seconds to hit 62mph, according to the manufacturer’s claims. We elected to run the road test ruler over the latter

First drives