BMW concept previews 8-Series

  • Beijing Motor Show concept close to 8-Series due in 2012
  • Eight- and six-cylinder engines to feature in model range
  • New BMW to rival Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte

BMW has unveiled a concept car that will be the forerunner to its 8-Series coupe due to go on sale in 2012.

The BMW Concept Gran Coupe was revealed at the Beijing Motor Show this week. BMW says it provides an 'in-depth insight into its design philosophy and development strategy' but it is largely a pointer to what the 8-Series will look like.

It picks most of its design cues from Concept CS show car, which appeared at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2007, and it's touted as a rival to the Maserati Quattroporte, Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera.

The production car is likely to use a mix of six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Lookwise, it's smart rather than sporty. The four-door features a sculpted bonnet, a coupe-style roofline, short front overhang and a long wheelbase. It's almost five metres long, and 1.40 metres high - 100 millimetres flatter than the BMW 5-Series and the 7-Series.

The front section incorporates the traditional BMW kidney grille, although flattened somewhat. At the rear there's L-shaped LED lights and, a third brake light positioned in the rear window, is also fitted with LED technology. It takes up the kink in the roof and illuminates the entire width of the rear window.