Now that some pre-production drives of the BMW 8 Series have occurred and we’ve read and dissected just about all of the information we possibly could have, it’s time to look toward the future. The 8 Series will officially debut later this year and when it does, it will be the most exciting car to come from BMW in a long time. But one big question remains: Which cars will it compete with and what will be its main rival?

To be honest, I don’t think we’ll really know until we drive it, because we have to figure out if BMW has leaned the 8 Series more toward a grand touring car or a sports car. We know that it’s a sporty GT car but to which side does it lean toward more?

(For reference, we’re going to be using the BMW M850i as the example of the 8 Series, as it’s the only one we know any specs about. It packs a newly revised, 8 Series-specific 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8 that makes 530 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, with an eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive. The latter of which comes with an electronically-controlled limited-slip rear diff as standard equipment.)

Sporty Competitors

If the BMW 8 Series is more sports car than touring car, it’s going to have its hands full. There are some seriously excellent cars in this segment and price point, so it will be incredibly exciting to see the 8 Series take them on. Cars like the Porsche 911, Aston Martin Vantage and the Mercedes-AMG GT will be ready to take the newest BMW on. However, of all of them, I think the Mercedes-AMG GT will be the 8 Series’ main competitor in the segment, if the 8er is more sports car than touring car.

Not only is it from BMW’s rival brand but it’s about the same price, also has a twin-turbocharged V8, with similar power and an automatic gearbox as-standard. It’s also a good blend of comfort and performance, with great chassis balance and ride quality. It also has vaguely similar proportions, with a long hood and short rear deck, even if the AMG GT is a bit smaller and has more exaggerated proportions.

The only real knock against this comparison is the fact that the AMG GT is only rear-wheel drive, while the M850i is all-wheel drive as-standard. However, the M850i sends 100 percent of its power to the rear wheels until it deems necessary to split the torque between axles. From what we’ve heard from BMW techs, the M850i is designed to feel like an all-wheel drive car with unlimited grip and, from what we’ve heard from journalists, it does. So the Mercedes-AMG GT might be its closest rival when it debuts.

Touring Competitors

If the BMW 8 Series becomes more of a touring car and leans a bit more toward comfort than performance, which we’ve heard it doesn’t to be honest, it will have a slightly different set of competitors. Rather than cars like the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage, it will compete more with cars like the Lexus LC500, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe and, despite it being a bit more expensive, the Aston Martin DB11 V8.

Though, if I had to choose just one competitor that it will most likely compete with, at least in terms of design, spec and style, it’d be the Aston Martin DB11 V8. I know that it’s going to be more expensive than the BMW M850i but it makes sense when you actually look at the two cars and not their price points. Not only is the DB11 very similar to the M850i in terms of proportions but it also packs similar power and performance. The DB11 V8 actually uses a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 sourced from AMG and it makes 503 hp and 498 lb-ft of torque. Those are a bit less than the M850i’s numbers but the DB11 V8 can hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, so it’s no slouch.

The only real reasons that these two don’t compare are price and prestige. While the M850i will be expensive and lovely, it won’t have the panache or the prestigious reputation of the Aston Martin. The Aston’s interior might not be my favorite from the brand but it’s certainly more luxurious and exotic looking than the M850i’s, which has many parts sourced from lesser BMWs. Still, these two in the real world, with preconceived notions aside, will compete well.

Obviously, this is all just speculative but it’s fun to speculate. After hearing about the new 8 Series, we can’t get it out of our minds so we’re excited to see how it will stack up against other cars on the market. Let us know which car you think it will mainly compete with or which car you’d like to see it take on.