Top BMW Designer Talks M8 Gran Coupe, Future Styling Direction
The top of BMW’s lineup is getting a much sportier flavor. First comes the 8 Series coupe, with production starting this summer. In fall 2019, we’ll see the four-door 8 Series Gran Coupe. Then an M version of the Gran Coupe will come shortly thereafter—a tease of which we saw at the Geneva Motor Show.
Domagoj Dukec, head of design for BMW M and BMW i vehicles, gave details as to how much of the Geneva Motor Show concept car we will see when the car reaches showrooms.
BMW M and i brand design chief Domagoj Dukec
Despite its aggressive looks, the M8 Gran Coupe will not be a “super sports car,” he said.
“We fulfill certain dreams about BMW of building very sporty, very elegant, very emotional product in this segment,” Dukec said. “Everybody’s asking always for a super sports car, but BMW was never famous for a super sports car.”
“We stand for very sporty saloons, and this car is actually the most sporty luxury saloon you’ll find right now on the market,” he added. “It has exactly the whole DNA of what BMW makes so special because it’s always this combination of two faces. We try always to be a very elegant car on one hand because we want premium luxury. Then on the other hand, we have the sporty, the most dynamic one. And the M brand, combined with the 8 Series and the Gran Coupe four-door, brings the best together.”
The concept M8 Gran Coupe used a color called Salève Vert, named after Mont Salève outside Geneva. As you walk around the car, the paint flops between a deep forest green and an almost battleship blue-gray. Dukec says the flop expresses a high-tech performance heartbeat underneath a luxurious skin. The playful coloring continues with a subtle brushed, almost titanium gold wheel surface, as well as the racing-yellow headlight treatment, which references BMW’s participation in the GT series.
“Everybody wants (their headlights) now very white, cold white,” Dukec said. “In the beginning, we had bulbs, then there was the LED technology, and everybody chose white-blue to be very clear from far away. But now LED is everywhere.”
Although able to glide onto the show floor, the concept blacked out its windows, and there was no interior shown. That was deliberate, Dukec said.
“Everybody is interested in how much space you have in such a sporty-looking car, but then you have the communication or the focus on different things,” Dukec said. “People start asking, ‘Why can’t I buy it now?’ Right now, we want to communicate the certain emotion you transport with such a car.”
On a broader scale, Dukec said BMW’s mainstream sedan design will continue down the path of family resemblance but that cars like Z4 and 2 Series Active Tourer will carry their own unique form language. No longer is it a matter of “same sausage, different size.” He objected to the classification of the 5 Series sedan redesign as having been too conservative, noting the proportions and interior are completely changed. Was it a radical change? Of course not. Then again, that is not the BMW design and marketing brief for its sedans.
“If you want a dramatic change, it is either because you made something wrong, it’s not selling, or something else,” he said. “There must be a motivation why you should change design. It’s not just because, ‘Ah, it’s boring, and now we would try something different.’”
That said, the upcoming Z4, X7, and 8 Series deliver much different design expectations from the rest of the BMW lineup, Dukec said. “They don’t follow any longer the small and bigger, like 3, 5, and 7 Series, where there was one single line. We have a big depth of variety, especially now.”