Launching later this year, the M8 will replace the M6 in BMW's vast lineup.

If you’re feeling the M6 Coupe is getting a bit long in the tooth, you’ll be happy to hear it will be replaced by the end of this year with this, the first-ever M8. First a coupe, then a convertible, and eventually a Gran Coupe, the high-end BMW will be getting a fully fledged M version to sit above the existing M850i. Here we can see it in its natural habitat, going fast through the numerous corners of the Nordschleife where it’s currently undergoing final testing at full throttle.

Following the launch of the all-wheel-drive X5 M, X6 M, and the more recent M5, the forthcoming M8 is also expected to feature an xDrive layout and will likely borrow the sedan’s pure RWD mode available at the push of a button. Like it’s the case with the M5, this should please both worlds as purists will still get to enjoy a tail-happy layout while the others will take comfort from knowing the car boasts AWD and the advantages provided by the xDrive.

It is unclear how much power the biturbo 4.4-liter V8 engine will deliver, but it will certainly pack a lot more punch the 523 horsepower (390 kilowatts) and 553 pound-feet (750 Newton-meters) available in the M850i xDrive. The 600-hp mark will probably be hit with ease, but the most optimistic rumors are suggesting as much as 650 hp. Naturally, the M power will be channeled through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

When it comes to styling, take the M850i and make it 20-30 percent more aggressive to get an idea of how the M8 is going to look like. The interior is unlikely to go through any drastic changes, but BMW will make sure to throw in more M trinkets to make the car worth what it will likely be a hefty premium.

The M850i starts off at $111,900 in the United States where the M5 Competition costs just about the same: $110,000. You will have to pay extra for the M8 Coupe, and even more for the M8 Convertible and the more practical M8 Gran Coupe.

Note: Photos below are showing a different prototype

Video: Automotive Mike / YouTube

Gallery: BMW M8 Coupe spied at the Nurburgring