TodayApril 15, 2022

World Premier BMW Z4, 8-Series racing against time

Two CEOs, Two BMWs unveiled, one Pebble Beach

There are two President and Chief Executive Officers of BMW North America are at Pebble Beach this weekend. Ludwig Willisch, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Bernhard Kuhnt. One beginning their career as President and CEO, the other, retiring in style. BMW will run a classic race car in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion this year. The famous #25 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL IMSA Group 4 will, one last time, be driven by retiring BMW of North America President Ludwig Willisch as a retirement gift from BMW.

While Willisch is racing into the apex of retirement, Kuhnt is unveiling two concept cars on the 18th Green at Pebble Beach, the very same spot the winner of the Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance will take their trophy. Kuhnt and Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, unveiled the BMW 8-series and Z4 concept at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

BMW 8-Series unveil

The BMW 8-series coupe, slated for launch in 2018 was unveiled at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Europe’s version of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and will be part of what Kuhnt called the biggest product offensive in the company’s history. Everything from small sports cars to Sport Activity Vehicles to efficient emotional ibrands will be coming out under the BMW umbrella.

Kuhnt said that the concept cars will becoming out as production cars “just around the corner” and Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, talked about each car.

After an eighteen year hiatus, the 8-Series name returns to the BMW portfolio with the BMW Concept 8-Series that serves as a preview of a forthcoming BMW model – the new BMW 8-Series Coupe, slated for launch in 2018. “The number 8 and cars like the Z8 Roadster and i8 have represented the pinnacle of sports performance and exclusivity at BMW,” explains Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG Harald Krüger. “The forthcoming BMW 8 Series Coupe will demonstrate that razor-sharp dynamics and modern luxury can go hand-in-hand. This will be the next model in the expansion of our luxury-car offering and will raise the benchmark for coupes in the segment. In the process, we will strengthen our claim to leadership in the luxury class.”

BMW Z4 World Premier

The BMW Concept Z4 Roadster adopts classical roadster design cues, such as a long wheelbase, a low-slung, stretched silhouette and a compact rear end, wraps them in a fresh, confident package and enriches them with the contemporary BMW design language. A shorter bonnet and crisp overhangs ensure the driver sits closer to the center of the car than in previous BMW roadsters. This gives the new proportions a focused, sporty and agile feel.

I got the opportunity to talk to van Hooydonk about the 8-Series and the Z4; why did BMW bring them both out together? Which car changed the most from the previous generation? There are less lines on the Z4 concept than the previous generation Z4. What was the thought behind the grille on the Z4?

you call that work?

This weekend will not be all about unveils for van Hooydonk; the designer will take control of the #21 1972 ALPINA BMW 2002ti which will be raced by Adrian. Both cars will race in Group 4A on Saturday August 19th. As the global entry agent said to van Hooydonk when he explained to them why he was coming to the United States this weekend, “you call that work?” A good laugh was had by all.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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