Or vice versa?
I need to clarify one thing clear before going any further: the reborn BMW 8 Series is a very pretty car. Is it stunning? I personally won’t be able to answer that until I see it in the flesh, hopefully next month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. But is the production version of BMW’s new grand tourer flagship better looking than last year’s concept? Debatable. I must admit, first off, I’m not the biggest fan of modern BMW design. Great cars. Brilliantly engineered. But I’ve often found them to have a “chunky” look, for lack of a better word.
But I didn’t think “chunky” when staring at the 8 Series Concept late last year at Frankfurt. “Sleek” immediately came to mind. The concept was stunning, a perfect blend of sport and elegance. A BMW PR guy proudly explained to me the concept was the beginning of a new styling direction. Although he couldn’t comment about the production version’s specifics, we all knew it was coming. The concept, at least in my eyes, looked about 80 to 85 percent production ready, save for the usual mandated safety alterations. I was pumped. This design, with its deep concaves molded into the doors, in your-face-face large twin kidney grille, and smooth sheetmetal throughout, went above and beyond what I could have imagined.
Aside from the expected wider front and taillights, less aggressive vents at both ends, and smaller wheels and bigger side mirrors, I figured BMW really could use most of the concept’s body. Almost, but not quite is the apparent reality. Sure, my opinion may change less than a month from now, but at this moment the production-spec 8 Series looks like it’s more of an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary design, especially if you were to compare it to the outgoing 6 Series coupe. Ideally, I wanted the 8 Series to feature the concept’s smoother and better integrated side sill, a more pronounced hump over the rear wheels and that front grille. It looked absolutely killer. The production 8 Series is more of what I’m accustomed to with BMW.
It has more “chunk”, if you will, than the concept. The design works no question, but I was hoping for something that more closely resembled the concept. Just swap out the concept’s side mirrors for a useful pair and slightly tone down the front and rear vents. That’s it. That’s what I wanted. But maybe I’m entirely wrong. Maybe I’ll be eating my words. I’ll need to see the new 8 Series in person to make a final judgement. But at this time I see a missed opportunity to really push BMW design into new territory.