My Car Quest

June 27, 2017

BMW Concept 8 Series – Design Commentary

An evolution showing pressure from the Italians

by Wallace Wyss –

In the past BMW always “held back” from a pure design; that is to say, they would have a daring design but then edge toward practicality; pull back from the brink as it were.

But at the 2017 Villa d’Este concours at Lake Como, they unveiled the BMW Concept 8 Series, which shows a willingness now to be as daring in design as anything from Italy.

BMW Concept 8 Series

FRONT: The BMW kidney grilles are intact, and glad they are shiny metal; not blacked out which looks cheap. The effect is similar to a Maserati prototype of some years ago the Alfieri. The BMW Concept 8 Series headlights are gimmicky but the public is entranced now by gimmicky LED headlights, so just the fact they aren’t round is interesting to the public, who in short order will be thinking of round headlight cars as “old hat.”

BMW Concept 8 Series

SIDE: The deeply inset doors, with concavities, is spreading throughout the industry, seen in production cars like the Camaro and in prototypes like the Bentley EXP 12 Speed electric concept convertible. It gives a car a sculptural shape but I am just worried that on this expensive a car, it shouldn’t resemble a mass market Camaro in any way. The best part is the front part of the concavity, which is blocked off giving it a similar shape to the side sculpturing on some Ferraris.

The roof profile is elegant, and the chrome is used in a good way to highlight the shape but it breaks no new ground among two door coupes.

BMW Concept 8 Series

REAR: The integration of the exhaust tips into the body, and the shaping of them so that they are unique from other cars is a good step—the old round exhausts are starting to look really antique on other cars. The taillights I am not sure of, I will reserve opinion until I see it in person, but they don’t have a particular design cue relating to BMWS of the past.

As far as nighttime running light illumination, I would prefer the LED lighting go all the way around to define the whole taillight shape. Note no tail spoiler. That will probably be on the “M” version if there is one, I appreciate a car where there is enough downforce generated by the natural body shape but know there are “boy racers” who want a separate wing to proclaim their “manliness” (and it could be useful at speeds above 150 mph…).

BMW Concept 8 Series

IN SUM: This car is certainly a more dramatic shape than they have shown in the past, showing BMW has more flexibility; and are willing to go for a purer design which says not just “luxury” but “exclusive luxury.” They need this to combat Maserati which has become a business express choice for businessmen in America and cars like the Lexus LX500 which conveys a similar vibe.

BMW Concept 8 Series

What remains now is to see how much of the Concept is used in the final production car and how the convertible will look.

BMW Concept 8 Series

BMW Concept 8 Series

Let us know what you think about the BMW Concept 8 Series in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has served as a guest lecturer on design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His oil paintings of carrozzeria-designed cars will be at Concorso Italiano in Monterey in August 2017.

 

 

 

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Summary
BMW Concept 8 Series - Design Commentary
Article Name
BMW Concept 8 Series - Design Commentary
Description
The BMW Concept 8 Series is certainly a more dramatic shape than BMW have shown in the past, showing BMW has more flexibility; and are willing to go for a purer design which says not just “luxury” but “exclusive luxury.”
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Comments

  1. Charley Lillard says:

    Not sure what is “gimmicky” about LED headlights.

  2. wallace wyss says:

    Thanks for the comment. What I mean in the use of the adjective n “gimmicky” is that they are becoming their own little center of attention especially with the surrounding light strip that defines their shape being illuminated even if the headlights are not fully on. The shapes of the headlights keep changing as if they are saying “Look at me–I’m interesting too” and I feel a well designed car can’t have different elements in each view fighting for attention. In this case the predominant center of attention in the front view should be the grille…but that’s just me.

  3. Raymond says:

    Is it going to be a 12 under the HOOD?

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