BMW’s CEO told the automaker’s annual general meeting it would revive the 8 Series line in 2018.

Reuters said the move was part of a broader strategic shift to focus on higher-margin sports cars rather than compact vehicles.

“The 8 Series coupe will debut next year,” Harald Krueger said in Munich on Thursday (11 May).

“We are refreshing our entire product portfolio and strengthening the performance side. Our strategy will focus on the luxury segment, where there are margins to be earned,” Krueger said, adding that he aimed to increase revenues in the luxury segment “significantly” by 2020.

BMW subsequently said it would show a design study at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on 26 May “which provides an exclusive look ahead to the 8 Series Coupe slated for 2018”.

“The concept car embodies uncompromising dynamics and contemporary luxury – the essence of a modern BMW coupe,” the automaker said.

“The 8 Series Coupe will build on our tradition of luxurious sports coupes and add a genuine dream car to our line-up – a slice of pure automotive fascination,” Krüger was quoted as saying in a statement released after the event. “The 8 Series Coupe will underpin our claim to leadership in the luxury segment. I can tell you today that this will be a true luxury sports coupe.

According to just-auto‘s product life research database PLDB, BMW’s current top coupe line, the 6 Series, was launched in convertible form at the Detroit show in January 2011. Two months later, images and details of the coupe were revealed. The coupe had been revealed in near production form at the Paris motor show in September 2010 with the debut of the ‘Concept 6 Series Coupe’.

The launch range for the 6 Series convertible and coupe consisted of two petrol engine variants: 650i (4.4-litre turbo V8) and 640i (3.0-litre turbo six-cylinder). The diesel (3.0-litre six-cylinder) 640d coupe and convertible were announced in July 2011. An eight speed automatic gearbox is standard for all variants, though the M6 versions have their own seven speed dual clutch transmission. The first all wheel drive variants of the 6 Series were the 650iX coupe and convertible. They went on sale in the US market in the fourth quarter of 2011.

A facelifted 6 Series range was launched at the Detroit auto show in January 2015. BMW stopped building the coupe in February 2017 but the convertible (and Gt) remain in production. A replacement is expected in the first quarter of 2018.

German media reports said the 8 Series would be based on the 7 Series flagship saloon sedan and would fill the gap between that and the BMW Group’s Rolls-Royce Wraith in the EUR150,000-plus range (about US$165,000).

A two door coupe is planned to arrive in late 2018 and a convertible a year later. An M8 performance version is under discussion. A 12-cylinder version is also coming, sources last year told Automobilwoche.

BMW built a previous 8 Series from 1989-1999, Versions included a V12 850i and 4.4-litre V8 840i.