BMW’s M8 GTE Le Mans Competitor Previews Production M8 Model
Top-tier motorsport entry serves up details on the range-topping production iterationby Jonathan Lopez, on
The Bavarians are heading back to Circuit de La Sarthe, and they’re bringing a new race car. Say hello to the M8 GTE, which just debuted this week at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Set to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the M8 GTE clearly has its sights set on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That’ll make it the first BMW to run the world-famous endurance event since 2011, following in the footsteps of such machines as the V12 LMR that took outright victory in 1999. The new racer’s first competitive event will be the 24 Hours of Daytona next year, with further races in the North American IMSA series on the docket as well. That’s all well and good, but for those of us chomping at the bit to see the new 8 Series, the M8 GTE offers some tantalizing insights into what to expect.
For those unaware, the upcoming M8 is framed as Bimmer’s end-all-be-all range-topping luxury two-door, a flagship coupe sporting large-and-in-charge dimensions, plenty of power, and high-end interior extravagance. It’s essentially BMW’s answer to competitors like the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe, previewed with the BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe revealed in Italy at the Villa d’Este event earlier this year. However, with the racing version now out and under the lights, we’re taking a closer look to see what we can learn before the 8 Series drops at the Los Angeles Auto Show in a few months’ time.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 GTE and upcoming 8 Series.
Styling And Exterior
While the M8 GTE was revealed in Frankfurt sporting the requisite M Motorsport livery, many of the details are sure to be a direct carryover on the production 8 Series and M8.
For starters, the M8 GTE measures in at 4,980 mm (196.1 inches) in length and 2,046 (80.6 inches) mm in width, and while the competition vehicle is surely longer and wider thanks to its impressive aero enhancements, those numbers still give us a general idea of what to expect from the production vehicle.
What’s more, BMW indicates that the M8 GTE’s roofline, headlight design, and taillight design will be virtually identical between the racing car and production car. Further styling indications can be found when placing the M8 GTE next the to 8 Series Concept that dropped in Italy:
Note: BMW M8 GTE race car pictured on the left, BMW 8 Series Coupe Concept pictured on the right.
BMW indicates that the M8 GTE’s roofline, headlight design, and taillight design will be virtually identical between the racing car and production car.
Starting in front, the most obvious similarities start with the sizable kidney grille intakes in the nose. These large openings seem to dominate the fascia, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the same general shape a proportions are reused on the production car. The side intakes (replaced with yellow fog lights on the GTE) are also likely to get carried over on the production car.
Moving to the sides and rear, we find similar designs for the truncated tail and upturned trunk lid, while the fender flares also look somewhat similar.
Engine, Drivetrain, And Chassis
Making the go in the M8 GTE is a 4.0-liter V-8 stuffed by two turbochargers to produce as much as 500 horsepower. These specs are in line with the race regulations, which restrict both engine displacement and horsepower levels at the above-stated figures, but the production iteration will likely see upgrades in both departments.
The block and head will be similar and use the same lightweight alloy construction, but displacement will likely see a bump to around 4.4 liters, while power will increase to 615 horses. The production M8 will also likely get a high-performance AWD system, enormous carbon brakes, and a tasty exhaust note thanks to large-bore pipes.
The block and head will be similar and use the same lightweight alloy construction, but displacement will likely see a bump to around 4.4 liters, while power will increase to 615 horses.
The M8 GTE is also equipped with a race-spec sequential six-speed automatic gearbox, which will get replaced with an updated eight-speed automatic unit with paddles in the production version.
BMW also points out the M8 GTE utilizes copious carbon fiber reinforced plastic components to keep weight down to a feathery 1,220 kg (2,690 pounds). And while the production M8 will be significantly heavier (probably around 4,500 pounds, give or take), it will also utilize the same CFRP components to keep the heft as low as possible, even with oodles of luxury and extra equipment on board.
While the production M8 will be significantly heavier than the GTE, it will also utilize the same CFRP components to keep the heft as low as possible.
Finally, the M8 GTE gets cool stuff like a carbon fiber driveshaft and carbon fiber clutch from Sachs, both of which won’t make it to production. However, BMW says it utilized an advanced AI when developing the GTE’s traction control system, 3D printing techniques that allowed for rapid prototype development, and advanced computation fluid dynamics research for higher aero efficiency, and its likely all that go-faster stuff will benefit the production M8 in form or another.
Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe.
Read our full speculative review on the BMW 8 Series.
Read our full speculative review on the BMW M8.
Read our full review on the BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe.