The appeal of sports cars seems to be eternal. Not just for the thrilling pleasure of speed provided by a powerful motor. Because even prior to the force that must be tamed, the focus is on the aesthetic side, the beauty of forms, transcending any practical logic regarding what a means of transport ought to look like. Lines that fend the air, aggressive and exuberant, ready to join forces with all the luxury that can be packed into one automobile.
The new BMW 8 Series Coupe is seen here in its most exceptional version, the 850 M. Pieter Nota, a member of the board of directors of the Bavarian automaker, explains: “This car not only ushers in a new chapter of our history as experts buildings of sensational sports cars, but also represents the start of a new expansion in the highest end of the luxury market. We created it for the racetrack, and for the most thrilling competition in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and now we are putting it on the road, combining sports performance with the most extraordinary experience of luxury.”
First of all, lets look at the technical elements, under the bodywork, which the metal curves conceal but also, to some extent, put on display. The motor, enclosed in shells that are a spectacular example of design applied to mechanics, is a V8 of 4400 cubic centimeters (like three Pandas put together), producing 530 HP. Like having a missile under the seat: the car reaches 100 kph from standstill in the blink of an eye, just 3.7 seconds. All that force gets transmitted to the wheels by means of a sophisticated four-wheel drive system that prevents wheel slip while accelerating and guarantees maximum hold on the way out of curves.
“The 8 Series,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, vice-president of BMW Group Design, “offers a fresh interpretation of the brand’s most iconic aspects, while demonstrating a new approach to the use of forms in the surfaces of the car, forcefully sculpted for a model of remarkable character. In short, this is a sophisticated automobile that offers maximum driving pleasure.” The big motor requires space, and in fact that most striking feature of the new BMW is the long arched hood, with two large curves that powerfully dictate the overall design of the other surfaces.
The sides are long and supple, displaying the chrome ducts that allow the heat of the 8-cylinder engine to be released at the sides; the long, sinuous roof elegantly descends towards the back and then protrudes, like a sort of spoiler over the taillights. The front is pure BMW, in a modern take on the classic stylemes of the brand; the radiator is enclosed in the traditional ‘double kidney’ but in a three-dimensional arrangement, while the LED (or laser) headlights have a slim profile and large air intakes below.
The 8 Series is a coupe, thus with four seats: the front ones are wide and very comfortable, while the back seats are smaller and not terribly easy to reach, since the model quite properly has but two doors. The size? Impressive, far from the compact sports models to which we are accustomed: the length is nearly five meters (4.84, to be precise), the width almost two (1.92). This abundance ensures a roomy interior, with the use of fine materials and seats in genuine leather, like big armchairs shaped to welcome and support the body even during the most energetic performance.
The simple, linear instrument panel has a digital dash of 12.3 inches and an overhanging central display of 10.25, almost like two TV sets. In front of the driver there is a head-up display, an immaterial 3D projection of travel info, speed limits and navigation tips.
The coverings live up to expectations for a car that costs over 130,000 euros, with leather for the seats and inner doors, armrests and lower dash, small amounts of sturdy plastic that is soft to the touch, and large inserts in the dashboard: the options here are aluminium, stainless steel, fine wood grain or a glossy black finish.
The exceptional optionals include ignition button, multimedia control and gearshift knob in Swarovski crystal, lit from the inside for a dramatic effect and easy location in the dark. The interior is crossed by lines of LED light for maximum comfort at night, as in an airplane. But even more.