Holy God it's pretty.
The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este has, since 1929, played host to some of the most graceful, beautiful, and jaw-dropping automotive reveals. Only the most revered vehicles are permitted to enter, with the Concourse historically showcasing the very greatest coach built cars of their time.
BMW has arrived at this years’ Concorso with a stunner, in the form of the Concept 8-Series. Dubbed as a preview of things to come, the Concept 8 serves as “a taster” of a forthcoming 8-Series coupe, which will launch in 2018 and will form one of “the biggest model offensives” in the history of the Munich brand. On that, chairman of the management board at BMW, Mr. Harald Krüger, said that the “forthcoming BMW 8-Series Coupe will demonstrate that razor-sharp dynamics and modern luxury can go hand-in-hand. This will be the next model in the expansion of our luxury-car offering and will raise the benchmark for coupes in the segment. In the process, we will strengthen our claim to leadership in the luxury class.”
The Concept 8 is immediately recognisable as a BMW, owing somewhat to the enormous kidney grilles up front. These are flanked by headlights that reimagine the signature BMW ‘Corona-ring,’ which is part of what BMW design boss Adrian van Hooydonk says “provides a fresh interpretation of iconic BMW styling cues.” A quick glance down the sides will reveal that the typically-athletic look of current BMWs have remained, along with the Hofmeister kink at the base of the D-pillar that many hold in as high a regard as the kidney grille.
Some 20-years have passed since the last 8-Series rolled off the production line, and the Concept 8 is a perfect example of what’s changed. It bears very little resemblance to the car that preceded it, with a more organic, and sculpted physique over the somewhat-blocky 90s version. The silhouette of the concept car communicates the power that the upcoming model should gain (more on that later), with an impossibly-long bonnet and a gently-tapered roofline. The AirBreathers behind the front wheels are emphasised in the concept, with character lines playing with it to create a stunning play of surfaces.
The rear of the car is designed with “emotional surfacing,” according to BMW. Whatever that means, the rump of the Concept 8 is nothing short of stunning, with an innovative mix of surfaces, concave and convex, that plays with light elegantly. The rear lights stretch from the centre towards the furthest corners of the car, and retain the familiar ‘L-shape’ signature that we’ve come to see from Munich’s cars. They also serve to emphasise the kids of the car, and work with the carbon-fibre diffuser to break up the visual was of the rear.
The interior “focuses on the essential” apparently, though the sheer amount of effort that went into the design may mark that out as a fib. The “task of driving” is the priority here, with the cabin designed to wrap around the driver and provide a hemmed-in feel. The way the controls have been placed around the cabin further emphasise the focus of the cabin. The “fluid transition” between the different panels continue that cockpit-theme, along with the high centre console and low visual-focus of the instrument panel.
The production-ready 8-Series coupe should remain true to this concept for the most part, with BMW known for staying relatively faithful to their concept cars when they get pushed into production. No technical specifications of the Concept 8 were revealed, though it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that a selection of powertrains from the 7-Series lineup (and maybe even the M5) should feature here, though electrification and all-wheel drive options seem unlikely (but never say never).