Japanese design cues integrate surprisingly well in a German machine.
The BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe is a truly wonderful machine. In fact, it's so good in M850i xDrive configuration that we question the need for an M8 Gran Coupe altogether. However, no matter how brilliant something is, there's always some manner in which it can be improved. While most cars get roughly the same sort of specification the world over, certain markets will sometimes get an exclusive special edition that you can't buy anywhere else. In this case, Japan is the lucky country in question and the car is the 8 Series GC Kyoto Edition, named after a prefecture and city in the Oriental country.
With a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 generating 523 horsepower, there's no need for any performance upgrades. Instead, BMW Individual Manufaktur has fitted the 8 Series GC with bespoke styling upgrades, much like on one particularly unique M6 Gran Coupe. When "BMW Individual" is mentioned, one usually thinks of stunning paint finishes and unique interior alterations. That is the case here too with Azurite Black paint combining beautifully with duo-tone leather upholstery and woven pillows that are trimmed with suede and silk.
The most eye-catching change is found in the center console that was designed by Shihoh Okada, a renowned lacquer artist who drew inspiration for his design from forests, temples, bamboo, Japanese kimono's obi - the sash used to prevent a kimono from dragging on the floor - and even the BMW slogan of Sheer Driving Pleasure.
The patterns seen on the console are meant to imitate the flowing wind that moves over the car as it drives along while the urushi varnish is inlaid with small fragments of pearl shells. There are also sprinkles of gold for a traditional maki-e finish. The overall effect of Japanese luxury is completed with engravings on the B-pillars and special 20-inch wheels.
So what does all this bespoke design cost as a package? The BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe Kyoto Edition is selling for ¥21,500,00 or around $204,000. That's roughly the same as Mercedes-Maybach's new super SUV that will be coming soon. It's a special car - no doubt - but that's a lot of cash for some gold flakes and pearl shells.