The Porsche Panamera may not be the most popular brand from the Stuttgart-based sports car maker, but it brilliantly meets one highly specific need: deliver true sports car handling dynamics that even the most performance-enhanced sports utility vehicles like Porsche’s own Cayenne and Macan can’t deliver—while delivering luxury and comfort for four or even five occupants and their gear, like the aforementioned SUVs can.
Which is pretty much the design brief that BMW has for its magnificent Concept M8 Gran Coupe, which embodies a new facet of luxury for BMW—ultra-sporty, extrovert and, dare I say it, controversial.
“The BMW 8 Series will take over as the new flagship model of the BMW line-up and, as such, combines unsurpassed sportiness and elegance,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design. “The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe offers a look ahead to the most exotic and alluring variant of the new BMW 8 Series.”
Redefining a flagship
Despite its sleek styling and powerful performance (underscored by big V8 and V12 engines) the previous E31 8 Series of 1989 to 1999 wasn’t a particularly well-received model in its time—at least by BMW standards.
The Concept M8 Gran Coupe (no word yet on its motive power) more than takes up where that pioneering model left off and nothing less than redefines the flagship 8 Series line. It symbolizes a new and unique understanding of luxury.
“The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe is designed to stir things up, to polarize—It should move you emotionally,” explains Domagoj Dukec, vice president of Design of the BMW M and BMW i. “With this car we want to reach people who are looking for something special and who want to stand out from the crowd. Here, BMW M is unmistakably taking luxury out of its comfort zone.”
Like the BMW Concept 8 Series before it, the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe shows off BMW’s new design language, headlined by expressive surfacing that accentuates the car’s dynamism more vividly than before through its bodywork. A small number of precise character lines underline the graphic arrangement of the surfaces.
A front end that means business
Low to the road and broad in stance, the eye-catching front end of the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe delivers an immediate promise of an exceptional performance experience. The muscular surfaces and precise contours of the hood hint at the driving capability bubbling intently under the skin.
The face of the new BMW 8 Series is evident in the new Concept’s front-end graphic. The contours of the iconic kidney grilles broaden as they descend towards the road, emphasizing the car’s low center of gravity.
As on early BMW coupes, the kidney elements are linked by an unbroken grille surround, creating a large single element. The headlights are positioned slightly higher than the kidneys and give them the impression of sitting lower, which further emphasizes the car’s closeness to the asphalt. In contrast, the gold-colored kidney surround brings an added air of exclusivity and luxury to the front end.
Within the headlights, the lighting technology familiar from the M8 GTE endurance racer provides a dynamic, hexagonal interpretation of BMW’s signature quad-lamped front end, distilling elements of modern-day motor sport and luxurious quality into its inner details. Meanwhile, bold air intakes in carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic guide the air to where it is required.
Elegant yet powerful side view
The proportions of the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe strongly radiate the car’s dynamic character. A long wheelbase, long hood, flowing roofline, and short rear deck create a timelessly elegant sporty coupe silhouette. The emotionally rich surfacing reaches a climax in the car’s shoulders around the C-pillars, just ahead of the rear wheels. Here, the roof flows into the rear by means of elegantly sculpted fins. Lower down, the muscular flared wheel arches offer a visual expression of the power working through the rear axle. The smooth transitions between surfaces exude a certain sensuousness, while the heavy tapering of the car’s shoulders combines with a wide track to bring extra definition and athleticism. Being every inch a BMW M car, the Concept M8 Gran Coupe has a roof made from CFRP—which lowers the car’s center of gravity both visually and literally—and special aerodynamic side mirrors.
The Salève Vert paint finish, whose color appears to change from green to greyish blue in different lights, creates a hugely effective surface composition and teams up with the gold-colored window graphic, hallmark M gills, gold-colored brakes, wheel rims, and M twin exhaust tailpipes to give the car a head-turning, all-new look.
An imposing rear end
The rear of the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe oozes the dynamic élan and visual impact for which M is renowned, and the wide track and flared wheel arches hint at the car’s performance capability. Horizontal lines break up the rear end stylistically, allowing the area below the rear spoiler to catch more light and adding extra visual agility. At the outer edges, the slim, sculpted rear lights with black glass covers underscore the car’s wide stance on the road. Below them, the bumper picks up the front apron’s dynamic theme. The prominent diffuser and two sets of familiar M twin exhaust tailpipes together send out a clear message of absolute performance.
A family of 8
The striking exterior of the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe combines the core values of BMW M with elegance and luxury to create a new and captivating form, and reveals a new and exciting facet of BMW M. The new model sees the BMW Group looking ahead to the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe and BMW M8 Gran Coupe, which will be presented during the course of 2019 and round off BMW’s spectacular 8 Series family.