Expect to see more expensive and exclusive BMW models that you can’t afford.
It goes without saying that BMW’s decision to unveil the 8 Series Concept was a sign the company had acknowledged it has plenty of room to grow, especially in the high-trim segment. It may be lagging in sales compared to Mercedes, but it has been the way its Silver Star rival has pushed ahead that inspires BMW to swim upstream. BMW Management Board Member Ian Robertson confirmed our suspicions to Car Advice and outlined what we can expect as a result.
The recent past has seen most of Germany’s automakers drastically expand their lineups to the point where many models seem almost redundant. Sales numbers tell a completely different story, however, and Mercedes is happy to keep inflating its product lineup to set the pace. BMW was already starting lag when the S-Class Coupe debuted and offered an alternative to the popular and aged Bentley Continental. “There is lots of opportunity for BMW at the upper end,” said Robertson, noting Mercedes’ success. The 8 Series Concept was a result of taking advantage of that opportunity, but with the 7 Series sedan being the only other top-trim Bimmer, that leaves us wondering where BMW will go next.
Other 8 Series body styles are a possibility (please build that Gran Coupe BMW), but to truly gain access into the wallets and purses of the world’s wealthiest people, BMW will have to turn its head towards the SUV. Once 2019 rolls around, BMW will have the X7 out and roaming streets, but Robertson mentioned that the automaker is “working on other options too.” Filtered through Robertson’s previous comments about focusing on high-trim models, he could be talking about a more luxurious X8, which would be similar to the upcoming Audi Q8. Over at the four rings, the Q7 is the largest SUV money can buy with seating for 7 and all-terrain capability.
The Q8 will supposedly only seat four, but it’ll be marketed towards customers that want luxury and comfort over suburban function. Expect the X8 to follow the Q8 in in this respect. Solidifying its perch among the tippy top of the luxury class will require more than attractive coupes, sedans, SUVs, and alternative body styles, though. It will call for heavy customization. Currently, 20% of 7 Series orders are piped through BMW's Individual customs shop and there’s every reason to believe that a greater percentage of 8 Series buyers will opt for the same treatment. Expect the future of BMW to be many things: fast, competitive, electrified, customizable, and now, more luxurious.