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A Legacy of Luxury and Performance for Two Generations

Since its first steps on the automotive scene in the 1980s, the BMW 8 Series has continued to set high standards in luxury, design and performance. With a history spanning two distinct generations, this iconic line embodies the continuing evolution of BMW's signature grand tourer.

The 8 Series E31, first unveiled to the public at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show, immediately captivated car enthusiasts the world over. Designed to exceed the standards set by the 6 Series, it introduced innovative features such as a V12 engine combined with a 6-speed manual transmission, and was one of the first cars to adopt drive-by-wire electronic throttle control. With its aerodynamic silhouette and remarkable performance, the 8 Series E31 embodied the perfect marriage of elegance and power.

In 2018, BMW reinvented its iconic 8 Series with the launch of the G14, G15 and G16 models. The second-generation 8 Series introduced technological advances and avant-garde design, affirming its status as a benchmark in the world of modern grand touring. Available as a coupé, cabriolet and Gran Coupé, the 8 Series G14 brilliantly blends sophistication, performance and innovation, offering an incomparable driving experience.

Whether through the retro prism of the 8 Series E31 or the contemporary vision of the 8 Series G14, this lineage embodies BMW's unwavering commitment to excellence. In this article, we delve into the heritage of the 8 Series, exploring the distinctive elements of each generation and highlighting the evolution of this automotive icon over the decades. Prepare yourself for a captivating journey through time, where luxury and performance meet under the prestigious BMW 8 Series badge.

First-generation 8 Series

BMW 8 Series E31 850CSI

The first generation of the 8 Series, also known as the 8 Series E31, marked a significant milestone in BMW history, combining bold performance, avant-garde design and technological innovation. Design work began in 1984, and in 1989, when it was unveiled at the IAA in Frankfurt, the BMW 8 Series immediately captured attention, positioning itself as the near-successor to the 6 Series.

Designed by Klaus Kapitza, the wedge-shaped body with long hood and steep stern was reminiscent of the BMW M1, adding a touch of sportiness to the extraordinary elegance. The BMW 8 Series was the first road-going model to offer a V12 engine combined with a 6-speed manual transmission, setting new standards in terms of performance. It also pioneered the use of drive-by-wire electronic throttle control and a steerable rear axle, attesting to its innovative character.

Technological advances were not limited to the mechanical. Innovative systems such as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), speed-sensitive power steering and Electronic Damper Control were offered as options, helping to make the 8 Series the most modern BMW of the late 80s. With a drag coefficient of less than 0.3 and a multiplex system for networking ECUs, the 8 Series set new standards in aerodynamics and automotive electronics.

Over the years, the engine range has expanded, culminating in 1992 with the arrival of the powerful 850CSi, followed by upgraded versions such as the 850Ci and 840. The 8 Series combined avant-garde elegance, exclusive luxury and exceptional performance, creating a legacy that continues in subsequent 8 Series models. In all, more than 30,000 examples of this luxury coupé left the factory until production ended in 1999.

Production period: 1989-1999
Engines: 4.0 - 5.6 liters (218 - 380 hp, 160 - 280 kW), 8 & 12 cylinders
Length/width/height: 4780 mm/1885 mm/1340 mm

Second-generation 8 Series

BMW 8 Series G14 Convertible

In 2018, BMW redefined the expression of automotive luxury and performance with the launch of the second-generation 8 Series, represented by the G14, G15, and G16 models. This new iteration embodies contemporary elegance, technological innovation and impressive power, reinforcing BMW's reputation as a leader in the grand touring segment.

The coupé, coded G15, inaugurated this series, followed by the G14 cabriolet and the G16 Gran Coupé. These models share a versatile platform that skilfully combines bold design and cutting-edge technology.

The distinctive styling of the 8 Series G14 is a statement of style. Flat headlamps with laser illumination, muscular lines and a low-slung silhouette contribute to a sporty, elegant look. The interior embodies exceptional refinement, with luxurious materials and cutting-edge technologies, including the large 12.3-inch BMW Curved Display that dominates the center console.

In terms of performance, the G14 8 Series offers a range of engines from 6-cylinder to V8, with the M850i xDrive Coupé delivering up to 530 hp. Driving dynamics are assured by technologies such as the xDrive all-wheel drive system, M Sport differential, and electromechanical roll stabilization.

The evolution of the 8 Series in 2022 brought notable improvements, including the new Iconic Illuminated Glow grille and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, demonstrating BMW's ongoing commitment to innovation and cutting-edge design.

Whether as a coupé, cabriolet or Gran Coupé, the 8 Series G14 offers an exceptional driving experience, fusing elegance, performance and cutting-edge technology in perfect symbiosis. With its imposing road presence and sumptuous interior, the 8 Series G14 remains true to BMW's heritage as a creator of iconic luxury automobiles.