Design: How Does The New BMW 8-Series Compare To The 6-Series?

When the 3rd generation BMW 6-Series came out in 2011 following the Concept 6 Series that was unveiled the year before in Paris, it was considered a handsome-looking, albeit conservatively styled, gran tourer.

Unlike its f(r)unkier predecessor, the F13 6-Series wasn’t designed by Chris Bangle, but rather Adrian van Hooydonk, who also happened to work on the concept that went on to become the all-new BMW 8-Series Coupe.

Comparing the two and despite the name change, this is (mostly) an evolutionary redesign, with BMW being more adventurous this time, dropping some of the more conservative angles and lines in favor of more expressive visuals.

A picture is worth a thousand words

While the new 8-Series’ grille isn’t as massive or angled as the one on the concept, and its headlights aren’t as aggressive, the car’s fascia looks more menacing than the F13’s, which some say looks more docile than the much older E63’s.

Move around to the side and you’re met with more of the same. Where the F13 features that linear arch-to-taillight belt line, the new 8-Series looks more voluptuous and muscular, especially towards the rear. It’s clear that BMW wanted to strike a balance between a sports car and a luxury GT, the likes of which the old 6-Series was never able to embody.

As for the taillights, they’re both L-shaped and…that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Again we’d argue in favor of the new model looking a lot more sporty and more importantly, planted, although, the 6-Series’ rear end looks sufficiently aggressive too, it always has.

Two surprisingly similar interior designs

Is it wrong to feel as though the 6-Series’ cabin is actually more driver-focused than the one in the new 8-Series? Maybe it’s because of how the dashboard curves towards the driver, or perhaps the less intricate M Sport steering wheel.

Take away the newer displays and fancy switchgear and you might find the two interiors comparable. This is just a working theory, so you’ll have to tell us if you agree that the older car’s cabin would actually work better aesthetically inside the newer model, and vice-versa.

Of course, that’s not to say that BMW didn’t do a good job with the 8-Series. Seen as how they want it to go against both a Mercedes S-Class Coupe as well as a Porsche 911 (sort of), the balance they struck is probably a very healthy one.

All things considered, BMW’s all-new 8-Series Coupe is basically an ultra-modern take on the 6-Series Coupe and it shows. Every body panel seems more purposeful, every light cluster more aggressive and every interior display more powerful, from a graphics standpoint. This is how progress looks in Munich.

  • Bo Hanan

    All the proof needed to show the new 8-Series probably started life as the new 6-Series until BMW got greedy. The original 8 was extremely far removed from the original 6. Having a V12 helped too.

    • Jay

      I am BMW fan and even new owner of another and I can attest to this. They’re no longer the cheap lease deal luxury car either, their incentives and programs have decreased or disappeared. On top of that, their visual and performance accessories have nearly tripled in price and last generation they added a level of it in between M sport and true M with “M Performance”. Current M sport versions of their cars look way more soft without these M performance parts too.

      • SteersUright

        well said

    • SteersUright

      The original 8 was so unique in BMW’s lineup and this current one just looks like it could be the all new 4-series. The original had stunning design that even today still looks striking and handsome. This current car is an odd one, so large and bloated looking, yet admittedly striking from certain angles as well. But, there’s just no way it’ll age anywhere near as well as the original. And, I’d argue, it is no true successor to the original whose exotic looks and engine truly set it apart.

    • Fabián Montiel

      So true.

    • Cobrajet

      The original 6 was almost a two door 7 series, and the newer 6 series was almost a two door 5 series.

  • I think the 6 series looks sleeker than the new 8, which seems a bit bulbous. Interior design is also better in the 6.

    • LJ

      If you’re blind.

      • rover10

        The roof sloping onto the trunk looks weak just where it needs some substance. The 6 looks more resolved in this area. I wonder if the design team looked at the roofline profile in all views? The rest of the car is beautiful inside and out.

        • LJ

          I’m sure the design team looked at every angle imaginable a million times.

          • rover10

            They could have not done so, hence the weakness of the junction between rear roof/window and trunk.

          • LJ

            That’s their job. Every detail is scrutinized over and over and over. The car looks the way they intended it to. Whether we all like it or not is completely subjective.

  • PK

    so basically the new 8 series is an 6 series incarnation?

  • Alfa Giulia QV

    I still feel like the 8 series is just a new 6 series with a different badge so BMW can jack up the price.

    • (⌐■_■)

      the price of 6 series was already out of the park. we will see how much that price increases.
      They need a properly priced 6 series coupe to fight against Benz E-coupe.

      • Jay

        They dont do that now but your thinking has me worried about the cost of the next 4 series.

  • eb110americana

    Although it looks menacing in M-configuration and sleek in coupe-sedan form, I’ve always hated the nose of the 6-Series. The grilles lack definition, seem bulbous, and the hood cut line just above them looks exceedingly cheap (all of which bothered me since the nasty E63/64 from 2003). The 8-Series is a huge improvement over the 6. It is more of a fastback, and it draws more than a bit of its inspiration from the 6th gen Mustang. The side windows might be too narrow for some, and the proportions make it appear huge in photos, but that remains to be seen in the real world. I’m looking forward to the inevitable coupe-sedan.

  • dumblikeyou2

    So what’s the new 6-series gonna look like? Only a 4-door “coupe” I bet. Just like they did to the 3-series/4-series.

    • Zandit75

      The new 6 Series already exists, it’s the 6 Series GT. They shifted the 5 Series GT into the 6 Series, and the earlier 6 series coupe/convertible/GranCoupe will now become the 8 Series!
      Confused yet??!!

      • Bo Hanan

        The new 6-Series GT is a horrible way to carry on the 6-Series legacy.

        • Zandit75

          I never said it was a good move!!

  • Zandit75

    Nice evolutionary design, especially when seen side by side like this.
    Also just goes to show that the GranCoupe is going to look gorgeous with these upgrades.

  • Kaisuke971

    The 8 looks so much more dynamic it’s not even funny, even the M6 can’t compare. The new 8 Series reminds me of the old Aston Martin V8 Vantage from the 70s and 80s the British Mustang, just looks so muscular. The omd italian GT looking E31 was good, this muscular GT looking G15 is good as well in a different way. This time around though we’re getting the M8 for sure, that should be something

  • LJ

    You don’t realize how dated a design has become until you compare it to the replacement.

    • Enter Ranting

      Yes, there are fewer – and smaller – fake grilles on the 6.

  • Astonman

    I like the new interior. Don’t care for the rear of the new 8 series – too much going on – trying to do too much. The back of the 6 is clean and refined.

    • Zandit75

      Agreed, and I think it all has to do with the number plate area. It messes up everything.

      • Astonman

        I’m fine with that area. The rear of the car is very boxy and I think they were trying to hide that fact. See the how vertical the sides are and when you compare it to the previous gen which has a nice bulbous rear you really see the difference. From there they tried to hide the boxy shape – starting below the tail-lights with the ridges and then the air vents with a boomerang shape that seeps really close to a parallelogram vent which sits right above the parallelogram exhaust. There’s too much design in each of the corners with such a very limited amount of real estate. i can’t wait to read Cumberford’s description of this rear end in a future Automobile magazine. He’ll do a waaaaayyyyy better job than me. I have feeling he will dislike it too.

  • Nordschleife

    It’s funny as I do agree about the interior of the 6 being more driver focused than the new 8. I like the new 8 but because some of the details (I.e B-pillarless) things are missing. You can’t help but relate the new 8 to the more plebeian 6. While I love the taillights of the 8 the overall rear of the 6 looks better to me. Long live the 8.

  • TheBelltower

    I always liked the 6 whenever I was behind one at a stoplight. The side profile and the back-end design were strong. But there was always something unlikeable about the front end. The grille and headlamp lines didn’t look right at all. It looked very low rent, amateurish, and not befitting a car that costs this much. The new one fixes that.

  • Jay

    as a new 5 series owner who previously had 4, one thing thats even apparent here is that their interior storage has gotten worse. The cupholders are smaller and so is the glove compartment and you will laugh at the 3 inches of depth of that center storage.

    • Six_Tymes

      spoken like a true bmw owner

      • Jay

        Storage space complaints are definitely not a bmw owner stereotype I’ve heard. It truly is crazy though- the new cup holders can hold possibly a can, the glove compartment maxes out at the owners manual and the center storage has the depth of holding a small book- in a large 4 door sedan. Talk about minimalism.

  • Miknik

    Outside, tehre is a bit more drama in detailing ( I don’t think the overall shape has changed a lot), but that “dramatic” detailing lacks class and BMW DNA, and IMO won’t age well. The interior shows IMO zero progress

  • iea96

    I don’t think the 6-Series (except for E24) ever looked good. And the 8 looks like it’s long overdue replacement.
    The 6 name will probably just live on that fugly minivan like “GT” version.

  • Harry_Wild

    New new 8 series with a touch here and there; makes for a very beautiful looking luxury sport coupe. If I only had $110K!

    • BruceWayne

      I really don’t think it’ll be $110K, its gonna be closer to $180K or so, even the diesel is gonna be like $130K

  • As many commenters previously stated, besides the new 8-series not having anything significant to differ itself from the rest of the BMW gamma, it is also 6 cm shorter than the previous 6-series, a bit confusing, at least to me… Less ultimate ‘ultimate’ “ultimate driving machine”?
    I thought this should have been a true Top of the Line – no holds barred – kill or be killed – full blown madness thing…

    • ErnieB

      Agree.. they should have gone all out and created a game changer.. instead they created an evolution to the 6.. missed a great opportunity to wow!

  • DarkLegend

    I am BMW fan and even new owner of another and I can attest to this. They’re no longer the cheap lease deal luxury car either, their incentives and programs have decreased or disappeared. On top of that, their visual and performance accessories have nearly tripled in price and last generation they added a level of it in between M sport and true M with “M Performance”

  • TheDatanator

    I have always thought the 6er seemed awkward in ways that I just couldn’t quite pin down. It has never been ugly or offensive. It actually is a good looking car. But in a safe, boring way – kind of like the committee never let it be as good as it could be so there were compromises. The 8er – to me – looks beautiful by comparison. As if the designers were given creative license and this happened. This should be the 6er replacement, not a sibling in the lineup.

  • Infinite1

    I like the 6 series coupe because it was a bit funny looking to me. With that said, I really like the new 8 series, looks like BMW improved on the 6 series

  • lagunas3ca

    8 Series or i8 Coupe, choose one.

  • klowik

    I think less people will buy the 6series when the 8 is released. 6 is old design anyway.

  • An Existing Person

    The 8-Series looks more like an evolutionary successor to the 6-Series rather than a new model. Nontheless, both are very handsome look cars. Makes me miss my short-lived M6 Coupe.

  • enthusia

    i must admit, i never thought the 6 series was good looking in the conventional sense. i used to despise the E63, and felt similarly towards this generation of 6 series. but oddly enough, the more time that has past the more i really like it. in fact i think the E63 is my favorite. i don’t care what anyone says, the Chris Bangle era of BMW was truly ICONIC!

    as for the new 8 series? meh… i’m indifferent.

  • krusshall

    The irony will be that sales will be miniscule while the X6 “coupe” abomination will continue to flourish.

  • Nashonna Boyd

    They need to fix the 6 series and call a recall on the engine every 6 and 7 series smoking from the tail pipe and now they try to put a 8 series out.

  • Dennis James

    If you take the old 6-series and put in the new 8-series front end you will obtain the perfect BMW sports coupe design.

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