The BMW 8 Series was discontinued in 1999 after being in production for a decade, and almost from the moment the last one rolled off the assembly line there have been calls for the 8 Series to return. Today the coupe is regarded as one of the most daring and intriguing models the German luxury marque has ever produced. And after a new 8 Series concept was unveiled in May this year at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, it's now been confirmed production of a new 8 Series will get under way in Germany in 2018, with a convertible variant set to arrive a year later in 2019.
Production of the new models will be carried out at BMW's plant in the southern German town of Dingolfing, where the brand's 3 to 7 Series models are already built, and where its current annual production record of 369,000 is already set to be beaten this year.
The new 8 Series will finally appear for sale next year in Europe and the United States as a coupe, with the convertible following in the same territories in 2019. These new models will be direct competitors of the Mercedes-Benz S-class coupe and convertible. BMW CEO Harald Krueger told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in May that the 8 series will become the flagship model spearheading BMW's renewed focus on high-margin, high-end luxury cars, instead of more affordable but less profitable compact models.
Although we have seen plenty of glimpses of what the new 8 Series will look like, thanks to the concept from earlier this year, spy shots of vehicles undergoing testing and images released by BMW, we've yet to hear much about what will be powering the new flagship coupe. However, just like its great rival Mercedes, BMW likes to share its powertrains around its related sedan and coupe models. That means BMW's 3.0-liter inline-six is likely to make an appearance in the 8 Series, although it should be tuned to develop a little more than the 320 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque it currently develops when it finds itself in the new model.
(Related: The BMW 5-Series Catches The Seventh Wave)