In the annual calendar of all things automotive, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este an absolute staple. First held from 1929-51 and revived in 1995, it’s a celebration of motoring that rivals anything even the most devout gearhead could envision. While nominally a celebration of classic cars, various manufacturers leverage the event to unleash some eye-catching concepts.
For BMW, the list of excellent concept vehicles over the years includes the 3.0 CSL Hommage (2015), Mille Miglia Coupe (2006), M1 Hommage (2008) and the Gran Lusso Coupe (2013). While various design cues from these cars have made their way onto the production line, they have largely been confined to museum duty.
This year, however, BMW took the opportunity to show a model destined to hit the road in the near future.
Board member Dr. Ian Robertson introduced the Concept 8 Series as a harbinger of things to come in the German auto maker’s production line: “It is about another element of our strategy: We want to bring more cars into the upper-luxury segment,” he said.
The design is a combination of high-tech blended with sheer aggression.
The concept is a grand tourer in the tradition of the original BMW 8 Series, which was produced between 1989 and 1999.
senior vice-president of BMW Group Design was half-joking, smiling wryly in a way that suggested there could be some margin of error. “More importantly, this is the start of a new era in our design language. We are going to have the biggest product offensive in our history over the next two years and all of the cars will have this language.”
Some changes include a modern spin on the brand’s hallmark grille as well as an almost parabolic shape to the hood.
The design responds with a fascinating combination of high-tech blended with sheer aggression. The front grille, a hallmark of the BMW brand, is given a modern spin here: The two kidney-shaped openings are wide, low and separated only by a narrow band. The dominant presence of the grille is further emphasized by the crisp angles of the front fascia and the slim, laser-enabled headlights.
The silhouette of the car reveals another surprising design element: an almost parabolic shape to the hood, a gentle arc that extends from the base of the windshield to the nose of the car. The end point of the hood is astonishingly low, particularly when the increasingly stringent demands of pedestrian safety are taken into account. In many countries, the hood must offer a certain amount of clearance over the top of the engine so it will be interesting to see if this element makes its way into production.
“Every car is an opportunity to propel the brand forward,” van Hooydonk explained. “With the Concept 8 Series, we wanted a design that was cleaner and more emotional, but also to showcase that the car is high-tech and intelligent.”
To confirm that the 8 Series is not just a one-off concept, BMW then unveiled a high-performance version of the production car, the M8, at this past weekend’s 24 Hours Nuerburgring. (With the M8 clad in camouflage, it was difficult to tell how much of the Concept 8 Series had carried over.) BMW will return to Le Mans in 2018 in the GTE class with the M8.
“The Concept 8 is a departure from what you’ve seen from us before,” van Hooydonk said. “But a brand like BMW is, I think, like a living organism, so there’s always room for change. This is, for sure, the fastest-looking and most luxurious sports car we’ve ever done.”
Source: The Globe and Mail.
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