The other day I saw the new BMW 850M on the street, which I thought was interesting at best. The lines, creases and folds make it a good looking and aggressive car but, sadly, I must admit it did not get me that excited. Adrian van Hooydonk, head of design at BWM said “The 8 opens a new chapter in BMW’s design language.” But what about the heritage? I remember back when the (old) 8 series came out in the early 1990s…. From a design point of view, it was an evolution of the 635CSI and the pillar-less windows still make it extremely cool looking, even by today’s standards. It seems the new car is just an aggressive wrapping of metal around current (and future) legislation? Change the badge and it can be anything…. Kia? Toyota? Cherry Automotive?
Enough about design, what about the engineering aspect? Ah yes, a hand-me-down 4.4L twin turbo V8 that is used in most of the sporty BMW models…. The original 850 had a naturally aspirated V12 …. Did you read that correctly? A VEE TWELVE! An engine bespoke to the flagship model. The 4.4L TT V8 is powerful and I am sure the new BMW will be quick. And I am also sure that it will be filled with tech such as autonomous driving aids, connectivity, and interior lighting that can reflect your current mood.…. But I do not care about that. That sounds more like an IT geek’s wet dream than that of a petrol head.
I am not having a go specifically at BMW, as most major car makers today think efficiency, economies of scale and profits, but it struck me for the first time: is a modern petrol head a mobility head? Do they care more about the mobility and tech than the engineering? Is it only horsepower and 0-100 times and aggressive lines that make a car cool? As amazing as the new BMW 8 series is, I cannot help feeling that this will be the dream of the IT department rather than someone who is really into cars, engineering and driving. Am I wrong? Old? Outdated?
I would much rather have an 850 CSI with a V12 up front, manual transmission and rear wheel drive!