Not seen since 1999, BMW is bringing the 8 Series back. The automaker has taken the wraps off the ferocious Concept 8 Series, giving the world a preview of what the production 8 Series Coupe will look like when it launches next year. The new design study shows that BMW isn't messing around and will give the world a sharp, aggressive 8 that takes no prisoners.
BMW is currently getting the troops in order and laying out logistics for the "biggest model offensive" in its history. With the 8 Series Coupe, BMW will fire a ground-shaking shot that'll be heard (or at least seen) 'round the world.
"The number 8 has always represented the pinnacle of sports performance and exclusivity at BMW," says BMW AG chairman 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."
Being a design study, the Concept 8 Series doesn't preview the razor-sharp dynamics that will make the production 8 Series Coupe a "full-blooded high-end driving machine," as BMW senior design VP Adrian van Hooydonk describes it. But the concept does give a very clear picture of the sharp styling that will surround those dynamics.
Set on muscular rear haunches, the rear-wheel-drive Concept 8's proportions spring forward, the roof line climbing steadily upward to meet a forward-set peak, and the belt line leaping forth from the rear fenders to support the glasshouse before dropping off into the front-end. The windshield slopes from the roof, and the Concept 8's long, curvy hood lines continue the forward rush, converging around the grille and headlamps.
It's no wonder BMW is drawing the eyes forward – designers have clearly spent some time sculpting an effortlessly aggressive face. Sharp laser headlights slice inward from the front fenders, flanking a broad, three-dimensional interpretation of BMW's kidney grille. The large, sharply cut air intakes to the sides add to the aggressive, no-nonsense demeanor, as does the carbon fiber connecting those intakes.
Between the front and rear fenders, and the multi-spoke 21-in light alloy wheels below, BMW has spent some time shaping the sides, creating prominent recesses designed to look like the work of air rushing out of the front breathers before deflecting off the bulging rear muscles. Up above, the sloped roof line levels out at the rear before taking a quick, upward flip at the trailing edge.
The rear-end features sharply edged, cavernous vents set out at the sides, in a sort of mirror of the front intake design. The taillights are every bit as thin and sharp as the headlights, wrapping around the edges to further highlight the bulging fenders and help BMW in its mission of emphasizing width. Distinctive trapezoidal exhaust tips at the inside edges of the vents are visually connected by a carbon fiber diffuser.
In opening the doors for a quick tour, BMW reveals the Concept 8's cockpit is much like the exterior, with lines and curves that subtly converge toward the front to emphasize the car's sporty, rear-powered quickness and dynamism – even the graphics in the digital instrument cluster angle forward.
The instrument panel hood is bordered by the thick sidewall of the center console, providing heavy structure around the driver controls and displays. BMW hasn't done anything too fanciful with these controls and displays, the digital instruments complemented by a center console with the usual infotainment screen up top and shift knob and iDrive controller at the base. Plenty of carbon fiber trim sits between and around those console elements.
The front two seats in the 2+2 layout feature carbon fiber shells and creamy Fjord White leather upholstery. Red-anodized paddle shifters stand behind the hand-polished aluminum spoked steering wheel that includes what look to be touch controls where the spokes converge with the rim. Dark brown leather, aluminum and carbon fiber trim enhance the premium look and feel all around.
BMW will officially unveil the Concept 8 Series at this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, which begins on Friday. After that, we'll await the debut of the production 8 Series Coupe, which BMW says will share a similar form.