BMW 8 Series Set For 2020 Comeback
Will BMW resurrect its two-door coupe, S-Class competitor?by Kirby Garlitos, on
The BMW 8 Series hasn’t been seen since 1999, but if recent reports are any indication, BMW’s old flagship model could be making a long overdue comeback by 2020. Details are still sketchy at this s point, but AutoCar reports that there’s already been some movement inside the automaker’s R&D center in Munich in developing to different layouts for the model.
The report further adds that these layouts are already in the desk of chairman Harald Krueger, who has been a strong proponent of adding more luxury models in the BMW lineup. The first of these layouts reportedly has a four-door configuration and has similarities with the BMW 6 Series Coupe, only that it’s bigger and more luxurious than the 6. The other possibility is dramatically different as it follows the layout of the old 8 Series as a classic two-door coupe.
These developments are by far the closest thing we’ve come to once again seeing the 8 Series. There have been past instances when the model was floated around, including in 2013 when rumors hit fever pitch after BMW unveiled the Pininfarina-designed Gran Lusso Concept. We all know that nothing came out of those rumors so this new buzz about the fate of the 8 Series is admittedly a little exciting, even if no confirmation has come from the company’s big wigs.
There are a number of reasons why it’s in BMW’s best interest to bring back the 8 Series, not the least of which is the model’s ability to directly compete against the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and the Bentley Continental GT.
Don’t expect a final decision to happen anytime soon though. With that reported timetable of 2020, expect BMW to make its call sometime in 2017 with the possibility of a concept version arriving in 2018. That gives the company time to gauge the market interest for the car before proceeding with production plans in 2020.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Why it matters
There are a number of reasons why BMW should proceed with bringing the 8 Series back. First, the company’s chairman seems to be of the belief that the brand needs more upscale models to compete against the upper echelon models of its biggest rivals. The 7 Series has done an amiable job in that position, but for BMW to really compete against the S-Class and the Continental GT, it needs a clear flagship model that will offer the same amount of luxury, tech, and performance as those models.
Second and more important, consumer demand for models like the S-Class Coupe has been robust in the past few years, including in 2015 when Mercedes was able to sell more than 125,000 units of its own flagship model. That’s a clear indication to BMW that there’s a market for the 8 Series that the company can take advantage of, especially in places like the U.S. and China.
By comparison, BMW expects the sixth-generation 7 Series to increase the model’s sales volume to about 70,000 units in 2016. That’s a pretty good number, but not good enough compared to the S-Class. Granted, Bentley is less of a threat with the Continental GT, but the way Mercedes has dominated this market should be the motivation BMW needs to jump headfirst into what could conceivably be a future source of revenue stream for the company.
The AutoCar report mentions that BMW has done studies of its own, learning that the gulf in earnings between the S-Class and the 7 Series stands at close to €1 billion in favor of the Mercedes. That’s roughly $1.1 billion based on current exchange rates.
Now more than perhaps ever, there’s a place in the market for the BMW 8 Series to thrive. It’s on BMW now to grasp the opportunity it has by bringing back its once proud flagship model. The good news is that there’s already some kind of movement towards making this happen. Hopefully, it ends up where we all want it to. That’s to see the BMW 8 Series make its long awaited comeback.
Read our full review on the BMW 8 Series here.