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BMW channels its heritage and ups the luxury quotient to pull itself out of a lull.

For once, the rampant rumors were accurate. The 8 Series nameplate is returning to the BMW lineup after nearly two decades of absence.

While a production model is right around the corner, BMW will first whet our appetite by introducing a close-to-production concept car at the prestigious Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance taking place tomorrow in central Italy. Leaked images posted on an online forum confirm BMW resisted the urge to go retro and borrow styling cues like pop-up headlights and angular lines from the original 8 Series. Instead, the next-generation model eschews the land shark look in favor of a muscular design accented by curves and pronounced haunches.

BMW 8 Series concept

As its name suggests, the 8 Series will slot above the 7 Series sedan in the BMW hierarchy. It will serve as the company’s flagship, and it will fight in the same segment as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. To live up to its range-topper status, the coupe will offer a powerful, turbocharged V8 engine or a silky-smooth V12. It’s not too far-fetched to speculate a plug-in hybrid model capable of zero-emissions driving will join the lineup a little later in the production run; after all, BMW has promised to launch a gas-electric variant of every model in its portfolio.

“The 8 Series Coupe will build on our tradition of luxurious sports coupes and add a genuine dream car to our lineup — a slice of pure automotive fascination. It will underpin our claim to leadership in the luxury segment. I can tell you today that this will be a true luxury sports coupe,” BMW chairman Harald Krüger promised in a statement.

We’ll know more about the BMW 8 Series in the next few days. The concept shown at Villa d’Este will spawn a production car that’s scheduled to break cover next year, meaning it will likely hit our shores in time for the 2019 model year. 2019 will also mark the 30th anniversary of the original model. Coincidence? We think not.

Updated 5/25/2017 by Ronan Glon: added leaked picture.

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