The BMW 8 series’ creators try and make sense of the new Ultimate Bavarian.
I have an almost personal connection to the new BMW Achter. Having seen the preliminary concept car at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, I initially considered it a half-hearted Aston Martin pastiche. Then the production version was unveiled, which has no hope of ever being considered an Aston Martin pastiche. Instead, it heralds a new era of BMW style, hilariously named Precision and Poetry.
It was therefore with equal amounts of surprise and joy that I welcomed a brochure in my mailbox the other day, which came courtesy not of stale old BMW, but Bayerische Motorenwerke AG’s newest offspring, Bayerische Motoren Werke (sic). This all-new, yet storied upmarket brand is clearly far more exclusive an entity than the makers of your neighbour’s leased 2 series Active Tourer, yet not quite as upmarket as that marque building and selling motor cars named Wraith, Dawn, Phantom and Cullinan. So far, so precise.
This challenging task of marrying Precision with Poetry is, rather intriguingly, exacerbated by the 8 series’ brochure. For not only is the car itself not described as a gentleman, but it’s supposedly aimed at gentlemen – as well as racing drivers.
In addition, the main graphical theme of the brochure, apart from photography featuring reflections of water but no water itself (which is very Ridley Scott-like), as well as a colour palette reminiscent of the cyber-sci-fi movies from the early noughties (serving as a poetic tribute to the Wachowski siblings?), are pages made of wax paper interspersed for the purpose of adding precise emphasis.
This emphasis is usually of the visual kind and comes in the form of a select few outlines printed onto the wax paper, with the actual photo underneath. The trouble is though that these lines usually don’t reflect those found on the real car. Thus, character lines and a curvy centre console are highlighted that are thus conspicuous by their absence on the Achter racing drivers and gentleman can actually buy.
The accompanying marketing prose doesn’t help to clear this matter up either: “The BMW 8 series coupé introduces a new era of BMW design language. The sporty exterior is defined by clearly drawn lines, the ripped shoulders and the low silhouette”.
Regarding the alternative dashboard outlines, the brochure has the following explanations to offer: “Inside the BMW 8 series coupé, digital innovation and luxurious ambience complement one another to perfection. In that context, the interior’s clear design lines know only one direction: straight forwards. In conjunction with a maximum of driver orientation, they unfurl an indescribable dynamic within the cabin”.
One one occasion, the wax paper copy even does without any accompanying outlines at all. Instead BMW’s CEO himself, Harald Krüger, shares the following words with the reader/prospective customer/gentleman/racing driver: “The letter 8 has always marked the apex of sportiness and exclusivity at BMW. The new BMW 8 series coupé proves that highly dynamic performance and modern luxury form a perfectly harmonious whole.”
In addition to Mr Krüger’s views, the reader is also presented with a poem as a means of introduction to the Achter in quite some style:
Every moment is unique.
Which moments do we remember?
Those when we feel free.
When we were inspired to do something new.
When every detail is perfect.
in which we feel with all our senses,
which touch us with their sheer power.
in which time seems to stand still,
because we are encountering something exceptional.
After such bonafide Poetry posing as introductory exceptionalism, the rest of the 8 series’ brochure inevitably fades into insignificance. That is, apart from the revelation that this BMW’s gear shifter not only features glass applications, but that these are branded CraftedClarity and evoke an unusual allure. Regrettably, this unusual allure is an extra-cost option, unlike the cabin’s general ability to combine maximum performance with the highest perceived value.
After perusal of the Achter’s brochure, quite a few things become clear, after all. This car is more than a gentleman for gentlemen (and racing drivers). It is precision, poetry, luxury, sportiness, inspiration, perfection, harmony and clarity. All in one.
I shall never look upon Der Gentleman with the same eyes, the next time I’m at some German airport. Furthermore, I should learn to stop worrying and love precision. And poetry, of course.
The author of this piece runs his own motoring website, which you are welcome to visit at