Thursday, June 24, 2021
News Is BMW Using a Mid-Engine 8 Series to Test New i8?

Is BMW Using a Mid-Engine 8 Series to Test New i8?

Spy photos show what looks like a mid-engine 8er prototype testing

  • 8 Series with suspicious vents spotted

  • BMW design boss says next i8 would still have an engine

Some new spy shots out of Germany of a strange new BMW 8 Series prototype out for testing have us scratching our heads. It has a tiny bit of camouflage wrap, suggesting some small bodywork changes at the front and rear, but what about those three vents in the rear 3/4 window? Is this BMW taking a page from the C8 Corvette playbook? It just might be, and a second set of rumours might give us an even better idea.

The car in spy photos, captured by Carbuzz, doesn’t look to be a mid-cycle refresh, and we’d argue the 8er is still too new for that anyway. It’s the details that aren’t hidden that give us a better look at what lurks beneath this sheet metal.

At the back, the rear window is blanked out. And on the sides, the rear 3/4 glass has three large vents. What do you need vents in the back for? To feed an engine mounted back there. Because we’re quickly reaching the limits of rear-drive front-engine performance in cars, moving the engine to the back is an idea that’s gaining as much traction with automakers as it gains at the rubber thanks to the extra weight in the rear.

But a mid-engined large coupe doesn’t make much sense. And the 8 already offers all-wheel drive, so what could this model be prototyping?

A report from Autocar might have the answer. See, the Carbuzz photographer said that this prototype let out a different sound than other BMW models which hints at a different engine. And that hints at a different eight-numbered BMW model.

The i8 hybrid sports car was a technological marvel, even if the three-cylinder driveline left some buyers wanting. And we think that car might be coming back, keeping its PHEV mid-engine layout. BMW design boss Adrian van Hooydonk told Autocar that a next-gen i8 would logically be a PHEV, and “probably would be faster and run further than an i8 because we are 10 years on in terms of technology.” He also said that it would be better than a pure EV to deliver M-level dynamics.

So lets put these two things together. Mid-engine prototype that doesn’t sound like other BMWs? Could this be BMW working on the driveline for the next i8? We’ll have to wait and see, but we think these are strong signs of yes.

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