The new BMW 8-Series isn’t even out yet, but the automaker used the Geneva auto show to take the wraps off a four-door performance sedan concept version that it is calling the “BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe.” It’s best to think of this concept as a preview to an inevitable four-door 8-Series. Following the lead of the 6-Series Gran Coupe (which is actually quite nice), this concept is much like a 7-Series.
The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe takes the four-door coupe trend and applies it to a large passenger car, ahead of the debuts of the production versions of the 8-Series coupe and convertible later this summer and fall. This concept previews a later, four-door version of the platform due in 2019.
“The BMW 8-Series will take over as the new flagship model of the BMW lineup and, as such, combines unsurpassed sportiness and elegance,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president 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.”
The Concept M8 Gran Coupe shows off the latest BMW design elements, some of which might make production; the large coupe/sedan features a huge front fascia with exaggerated everything and a fastback profile leading to a duck-tail trunk lid.
The BMW 8-Series coupe and convertible are expected to debut later this year.
“The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe is designed to stir things up, to polarize — it should move you emotionally,” said Domagoj Dukec, vice president Design 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.”
The long wheelbase of the concept is almost dwarfed by the large features of the front fascia, meant to communicate a sense of performance, with the sleek line of the greenhouse skipping the flat plane roof of the 7-Series. The result is a visually small cabin positioned far back from the front axle and a coupe-like profile.
The surface details on the hood and doors also reinforce the performance flavor of the concept, which wears a Saleve Vert paint finish that appears to switch from grayish blue to green under different lighting conditions.
“The face of the new BMW 8-Series is evident in the new Concept’s front-end graphic,” BMW says. “The contours of the radiator grille kidneys broaden as they descend toward the road, emphasising 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 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 four-eyed front end, distilling elements of modern-day motor sport and luxurious quality into its inner details. Meanwhile, brawny air intakes in carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) guide the air to where it is required.”
We’ll see the 8-Series coupe and convertible later this year, but it will take a little longer for a production version of the 8-Series Gran Coupe to materialize. BMW’s pursuit of this unlikely segment, at a time when large SUVs are on their way back, may have more to do with Mercedes’ success in this price range — BMW lacks competitors to the S-Class coupe and cabrio, or at least will for a few more months.