While everyone is preparing for the upcoming debut of the new Z4 in Monterey and the eventual release of the M8 which is expected in coupe, and potentially convertible form at some point, new photos of what looks like an M850i Gran Coupé have surfaced. Slated to replace the current 6 Series Gran Coupé, the upcoming model has a large set of shoes to fill when it comes to styling. Other details appear to be in line with previous expectations, with a number of visible consistencies with the M850i coupe which was released this year just before the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The expected camouflage wrap works quite effectively to hide any particularly distinct design elements, and as a whole, what’s visible here takes a form that is quite similar to currently available Gran Coupé models, at least on the surface. From a more technical standpoint, the underlying platform is expected to be the previously detailed RWD CLAR design, which employs the use of conventional steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. Currently at work beneath the G11 7 Series, G30 5 Series, G32 6 Series Gran Turismo and the upcoming G15 8 Series coupe, the platform is highly variable when it comes to being adapted for different applications, and also boasts the capability of accepting a 48-volt electrical system which can be used for plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles. Running gear including the wheels and brakes looks quite similar to what was previously shown on the M850i coupe, including large front calipers behind Y-spoke wheels. Much of the other tech which was discussed back in June should also be present, but at this point, no concrete details have surfaced.
Aside from sitting atop BMW’s current nomenclature, above the 7 Series yet still in four-door form, the 8 Series Gran Coupé is specifically important because it will be replacing the current 6 Series Gran Coupé. Released a year after the initial 6 Series coupe and convertible debut in 2011, the 6 Series GC has its own internal production code (F06), and remains one of the most desirable models within the range. Lined up against the competing Mercedes CLS, Audi A7 and higher performing derivatives, the 6 Series GC makes itself known as a very special model. Visuals take heavy influence from the standard coupe, but the addition of rear doors and a unique rear end design help to set it apart from just about anything else on the road, especially in M6 or Alpina B6 form. More recent four-door coupe designs, like the 4 Series, haven’t been able to produce the same kind of emotional response from marque fans, even though that body style is quite attractive and practical in its own right. When the 8 Series Gran Coupé has its day, we hope to see more of the same break-out visuals that wowed the world six years ago.
Like other things such as trim and running gear, powertrain options are anticipated to mirror those of 8 Series coupe, which takes heavy influence from the current 5 Series. Many of BMW’s recent teasers and press releases have focused on an M8 Gran Coupé, and along with a standard coupe version, that model is expected to be the main headline, with a powertrain that should take heed from the M5 which uses M xDrive and a fresh version of the S63 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. An M850i Gran Coupé is also being envisioned, and that’s what appears to be on display here, with specs that should be identical to the two-door variant unveiled in June.
Moving down the line, some news outlets have brought up potential for a gasoline-powered six cylinder to replace the 640i, and when production began earlier this month at Dingolfing, Europe-only diesel-powered 840d’s were also on the manufacturing schedule.—Alex tock
[Photos via BimmerToday.de]