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.
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.