Up until now, BMW enthusiasts have been impatiently waiting for the Bavarian brand to reveal the long-awaited second-generation BMW 8 Series. That time is now. Ahead of its official reveal in person at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, which takes place tomorrow, BMW is taking the wraps off the upcoming 8 Series Concept Car and showing it to the world today. We showed you teaser photos that leaked last night, bringing about much speculation and discussion. Now, though, we get to see the real deal concept car, the design that the upcoming 8 Series was built off of.
From the outside, it’s very clear what BMW’s intention was — to make a traditionally big, sporty and luxurious GT car. Its proportions are just right, with a long sloping hood, short rear deck and low profile. While this is obviously a concept and its features are a bit exaggerated, we can see that the elements for a great looking car are there. This is a caricature but the production car has the potential to be stunning, being based on this.
“The number 8 has always represented the pinnacle of sports performance and exclusivity at BMW,” said BMW CEO Harald Krüger. “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.”
At the front, we see the nose plunge down toward the road more aggressively than any other BMW. That nose also features massive kidney grilles that, thankfully, don’t blend into the incredibly squinty and angry headlights. The hood is also sharply creased and the front air intakes are simply enormous. Expect these features to be tamed way down for production duty but the idea of having such an angry face is a good one for the 8 Series. Give it some aggression, some snarl so that it isn’t just another luxo-barge GT.
“The BMW Concept 8 Series is our take on a full-blooded high-end driving machine,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “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.”
It’s in profile and from the rear three-quarters that this concept looks best, though, which is ironic because that’s also where the original 8 Series looked its best. The overall silhouette is very pretty, with its low and lean look, accentuated by its muscular hips. It’s a proper rear-wheel drive GT sports car, at least in terms of style. One interesting design is the change to BMW’s now-signature Air-Breather. What’s currently a little vent immediately behind the front wheel has now become a massive air vent that actually creates most of the side body creases of the car. BMW’s signature Hofmeister Kink is also present and looking sharp, especially with the absence of a B-pillar, another 8 Series staple.
From the rear, the BMW 8 Series Concept looks as subtle and elegant as the original. The taillights feature BMW’s signature “L” design with a bit of funk to them and the rear deck is sculpted nicely. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the huge trapezoidal exhausts but I’m no fashionista. One interesting note about the rear of the car, if you’re looking at it head on, is that you can sort of see some empty space between the actual taillight and the rear deck above it. It almost seems like an aerodynamic feature, similar to the BMW i8′s. But if you look at it in profile, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere for air to get there. Though, from looking at the rear, you can clearly see a bit of the ground through the taillight. If this is the case, I hope that design makes it to the production car, as that aerodynamic taillight on the i8 is one of its absolute best features.
The BMW 8 Series Concept is painted in a new color, called Barcelona Grey Liquid, which is a greyish/blue with highly iridescent pigment. It shows off the smooth surfaces and sharp contours really quite well. The 21″ wheels also look great and we hope they make production.
Inside, the cabin is design to be more of a cockpit than a luxurious throne room. Rather than the be luxury car that the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe or Lexus LC500 are, the 8 Series Coupe’s interior is designed more in the realm of an Aston Martin DB11. There’s definitely a sporty pretense about the interior of this concept. The driver sits low in the carbon fiber-backed buckets, which are lightweight, thin and covered in supple leather. These aren’t your granddad’s luxurious leather thrones, but the seats of a high-end sports car. The new steering wheel features three hand-polished aluminum spokes with the rim wrapped in alcantara and red shift paddles. There are also little red paddles on the steering wheel of the upcoming BMW M5, so we hope this is something BMW continues on its sportier cars as it adds a nice little pop.
The center console beautifully flows up to the instrument panel, which is fully digital, in a similar vein as the recently-departed 6 Series Coupe. That was the 6er’s best interior quality and we’re glad some semblance of that still remains in the 8 Series. The center console also flows upward to house the iDrive screen, which looks like it could be production ready right now. The flowing carbon fiber, aluminum and piano black trim all look great. What’s also interesting is the completely new shift-lever, which is small and sporty looking, far superior to the funny looking wedge of modern BMWs.
Next to the shift lever is a red “Start/Stop” button, which is a new placement for BMW, as the starter button was usually dash-mounted right next to the steering wheel. It looks good on the center console though. Also, the iDrive rotary knob received a bit of a makeover and is now a knurled aluminum knob that looks far more upscale that the current plastic one. A black gloss touchpad remains on top of the rotary knob and is covered in Swarovksi glass with a “Smoky Quartz” look. The cabin is my favorite part of this Concept and really evokes the spirit of a high-end sporty GT car. We really hope that a lot of the design elements in this concept, such as the starter button, flowing console and shift lever, make it to production.
According to BMW, this 8 Series Concept is a preview of what’s to come from the real car. This is encouraging news, as this would be one of BMW’s prettiest cars in a long time and would likely make us forget about losing the very pretty 6 Series Coupe. Live photos of the BMW 8 Series Concept will be coming tomorrow, at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, so we’ll get an even better look then. We’ll also be seeing the real car sometime next year. If this 8 Series Concept is a good idea of things to come, we’re very excited. While not perfect, this Concept shows a lot of promise.
More photos in the gallery below: