The return of the BMW 8 Series after a 19-year absence is directly related to attempts by BMW to further boost its already healthy profitability through the planned expansion of its line-up of ‘upper luxury’ models.

Having witnessed long-time rival Mercedes-Benz build a formidable line-up of S-Class models, and with it some of the industry’s highest profits on a per-model basis, BMW is now concentrating its efforts on bridging the gap between the 7 Series and the cheapest Rolls-Royce model, the Ghost.

By basing the new 8 Series around existing platform and driveline hardware, BMW can expect a healthy return on its new upper-end coupé and convertible.

For its profitability-boosting plan to succeed, though, the new model will need to sell in much larger numbers than the original 8 Series. Produced between 1989 and 1999, it garnered just 31,062 sales worldwide.