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Culture / Cars

BMW Makes a New Richer Push with a True Luxury Sports Car

More Shocking Design Changes to Come?

BY // 06.16.17

An evaporating demand for luxury coupes? Says who? With the Mercedes S-Class Coupe, Lexus LC500 and Aston Martin DB11 all designed to whet the appetites of the road car-loving one-percent, BMW lays its stake in the pie with a new Concept 8 Series.

Bigger, aggressively styled, spacious and luxurious, natch, the Concept 8 Series, due to arrive as a production car next year, is an example of BMW’s new push toward a richer model mix while putting less focus on volume at the bottom end of its range.

Debuted at the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza, the swoopy body panels will be reproduced in production, senior vice president of BMW Group design Adrian van Hooydonk, says. Based on BMW’s track record with past concept cars a la the i8, it’s only a matter of time.

“The BMW Concept 8 Series is our take on a full-blooded, high-end driving machine,” van Hooydonk says. “It is a luxurious sports car, which embodies both unadulterated dynamics and modern luxury like arguably no other. For me, it’s a slice of pure automotive fascination.”

Van Hooydonk, who was responsible for the design of the second-generation 6 Series coupe that debuted in 2003, suggested the 8 Series’s new design language and sharper lines will appear on future BMW models.

“It also showcases a new approach to the use of forms which is reflected particularly prominently in the car’s surfacing,” he says. “A handful of crisp lines mark out clear surfaces, and the car’s volumes are powerfully sculpted.”

bmw-concept-8-series
BMW Concept 8 Series

While it has yet to release any detailed specifications or powertrain information, it will be larger in every dimension than the 192.7-inch F13 6 Series coupe and will deliver greater rear passenger space by adding length to the outgoing 6 Series’s 112.40-inch wheelbase.

Based on the architecture of the current 7 Series flagship, the production version of the Concept 8 Series is planned to pitch its price tag somewhere between the 760i and the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Sources suggest the concept car will be powered by a twin-turbo 6.6-liter V12, which is planned to be the nameplate’s flagship power plant in production. The M division will build a faster M8 model, powered by the M5’s biturbo V8.

The big coupe has a long nose and a short tail, typical signatures of large two-door BMWs. The bulbous arch that allows the hood to clear the engine and meet pedestrian-impact legislation seems a little ungainly, but only from a front-three quarter angle.

In profile, the concept is dominated by its clean proportions, with an ultra-low hood line, a higher trunk line, 21-inch alloy wheels, bulging rear arches and huge scalloped cuts trailing from the front wheel arches down the length of the doors.

The shallow lights use laser technology, while the BMW kidneys are lowered and broadened to emphasize its width and cameras replace traditional side mirrors. It won’t be the first 8 Series on BMW’s books, with BMW building 31,063 versions of the original E31 8 Series from 1989 to 1999.

Like the new concept car, the E31 8 Series was conceived not as a successor to the then-outgoing E24 6 Series coupe, but to open up an entirely different market segment further upstream.

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