The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este has been held on the shores of Lake Como, Italy every year since 1929 during the last weekend of April as an elegance competition for classic and vintage cars. The BMW Group has been a regular at this event and has often unveiled exciting new concepts and this year, it presents the Concept 8-Series, described as ‘the essence of a modern-day BMW coupe wrapped up in an enthralling design study’.
The study car is a preview of a new 8-Series Coupe, to be launched in 2018 as part of the biggest model offensive in the company’s history. “The number 8 has always represented the pinnacle of sports performance and exclusivity at BMW,” explained Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Harald Kruger. “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 exterior brings together the past and the future and as always, the car is immediately recognisable as a BMW. But it also displays new design ideas and form-building techniques, providing a fresh interpretation of iconic BMW styling cues.
Additionally, it showcases a new approach to the use of forms which is reflected particularly prominently in the car’s surfacing. A handful of crisp lines mark out clear surfaces, and the car’s volumes are powerfully sculpted. Together, these elements make a forceful statement and create a model brimming with character. In short, this is a driver’s car.
Along the flanks, expansive surfaces are set within a sporting outline. The silhouette spreads low and powerfully over the road. The interplay of a long bonnet and flowing roofline bring dynamic allure to the car’s flanks, while the striking upward sweep of the concept’s trailing edge provides a crisp conclusion to the car’s rearward flow and adds another sporting flourish.
Within the car’s silhouette, the refreshingly clean yet also dramatic arrangement of surfaces and forms catches the eye and creates a crisp, modern look. The sharply drawn lines coursing over taut volumes represent a visual promise of the vividly dynamic driving experience that awaits.
The bodywork has an exclusive exterior finish called Barcelona Grey Liquid – a greyish-blue with highly iridescent pigments – which shows off the surfacing to optimum effect. Large 21-inch light-alloy wheels feature a sporty and exclusive multi-spoke design and aero elements, generate visual depth and set the seal of the compelling appearance of the car when viewed in profile.
The interior is an emotionally rich blend of dynamics and luxury. As with BMWs past and present, it focuses on the essential: the task of driving. Once behind the wheel, the driver is wrapped in the tightly enclosed ambience typical of sportscars. The surfaces and lines all gravitate forwards and underscore the dynamic driving experience. The grouping of functions into control clusters, eg in the centre stack, the centre console and the doors, gives the interior a clear graphic structure.
Among the standout design elements in the interior are the fluid transition from the instrument panel into the doors and the sporty, enveloping feel of the interior. This impression is magnified by the smooth connection between the centre console and instrument panel, which together form the nucleus of the interior. The high centre console and the instrument panel’s low visual focus add further emphasis to the snug and sporty feeling of space.
The interior of the Concept 8 Series actively explores the contrasts between emotion and engineering, dynamic flair and luxury; its form suggests supreme sportiness, while exquisite materials exude exclusivity and high-grade design. For example, all of the driver’s contact points with the car are brimming with sporting character. The exclusive sports seats are slim in design, the carbonfibre shell providing the basic structure and the finest leather making them the perfect place to sit. The steering wheel continues along similar lines, its hand-polished aluminium spokes arrowing forward purposefully, and the red-anodised shift paddles bring the race track to mind. The contrast of aluminium and dark leather on the gripping surfaces emphasises this luxurious sense of sportiness in various details.
Merino leather in Dark Brown and Fjord White lends the interior a high-quality ambience. Accent surfaces in carbonfibre and hand-polished aluminium create deliberate contrasts and radiate a sporty and technical feel.