At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, BMW caused a stir in the car world when it unveiled its new concept car, the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupé. As you would expect from the automobile giants, the state-of-the-art sports car, which is the latest addition to the brand’s motorsport-inspired “M” sub-brand, had heads turning with its muscular form and exquisite aesthetic. But, according to BMW M, its purpose is greater than that.
Recognizing that the state of luxury is changing, BMW has established a new arm, known as Bayerische Motoren Werke, dedicated to redefining the meaning of luxury, and the M8 sits at its pinnacle. As one of the masters of the luxury car market, this statement isn’t to be taken lightly.
So, to gain a deeper insight into exactly what this means, we caught up with BMW M’s Head of Design, Marcus Syring.
“Describing luxury is a challenge because it is actually about having more than we rationally need," explains Syring. “That is why the need for luxury is always great—it makes it possible to break out of rational thinking.”
Marcus Syring, Head of Design BMW M
“ There is no universal definition of luxury, but there’s one thing I’m sure of: luxury is and remains highly emotional.”
However, what Syring is sure about is that the way we deal with luxury has changed.
"A progressive kind of luxury is developing that goes beyond the classical understanding," he explains. According to Syring, luxury is more a question of attitude rather than demographic data. It is no longer about owning certain products from brands founded on tradition, craftsmanship, and a heritage in luxury. Today, factors such as personal gain and the emotional journey are more important. A person who seeks out a luxury product understands who they are and they equate luxury with personalization.
Obviously with physical products — whether cars or watches — design and technology play an important role.
"There are attributes with which we can make luxury tangible, including established values such as exclusivity and performance," adds Syring. "When we speak of progressive luxury, further facets such as duality and progress are added."
When it comes to the car itself, Syring explains that there are three main factors he considers. First up is the physical function of the car—how it works, drives, and feels. Then there’s symbolic function, which relates to iconic design features that create an affiliation with the vehicle. Finally, there’s the aesthetic function.
Marcus Syring, Head of Design BMW M
“We believe luxury is an intuitive and emotional experience, it should be experienced with all the senses.”
The M8 ticks all these boxes. Aesthetically, the vehicle is a beast. Its sculpted exterior boasts a long bonnet, sweeping roof, flared wheel arches, and a short tail that harks back to the automaker’s sporting heritage. Recalling track racers, the car sits low to the ground and features the M range’s iconic radiator grille kidneys, sculpted lights, and dual twin exhaust tailpipes.
Form aside, one of the most visually striking and symbolic characteristics of the premium whip is its Salève Vert painted exterior. Inspired by the Northern Lights, the paint has an iridescent effect and shifts from shades of electric green to blue depending on the light. While it may not be the most common choice for a luxurious ride, it is definitely distinguishing and will no doubt polarize car fans. Hits of matte gold on the car’s kidney grill, brakes, wheel rims, and double twin exhaust tailpipes, however, nod to more conventional ideas of luxury.
No information has been revealed yet on the car’s engineering specs nor its interior, but Syring shares, “It's definitely more than enough.“ Plus, if the exterior is anything to go by, it will undoubtedly have all car fanatics drooling.