Whether it’s on a Ford GT, a ’64 lowrider Impala, a John Player Special Lotus F1 car (or Esprit), or Smokey and the Bandit’s Trans-Am, the combination of black and gold rarely disappoints, which is why BMW Individual is bringing that same look to the 8 Series lineup.
With production set to begin at BMW’s Dingolfing plant in September, a new special-edition package, dubbed Golden Thunder, will be available on almost all of the 8 Series models, including Gran Coupé, coupe, and convertible. But while you can dress everything from the inline-six 840i to the twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder M850i in gold, you can’t give the Midas touch to your M8.
Enthusiasts looking for package-specific performance gains in addition to a lavish exterior makeover will be disappointed to find that the Golden Thunder special-edition trim does not bring any new performance upgrades to the table; the package’s sole purpose being to bring refined aesthetics to your 8 Series. That isn’t to say that each Special Edition 8er won’t have any extra enthusiast goodies, however: The M Performance package will be standard on each Golden Thunder model.
It can be argued, of course, that whatever the Golden Thunder Edition 8 Series lacks in huge performance gains it makes up for in looks. Whether cloaked in Sapphire Black Metallic (our obvious choice) or Frozen Black Metallic, the richness and depth of each hue accentuate the athleticism of the 8 Series very well, especially when juxtaposed against the lustrous gold-trimmed Y-spoke twenty-inch M wheels—perhaps the best feature of this special edition.
The gold theme continues for front and rear spoilers, side skirts, and mirror caps as well. In addition to all of its golden accents, a special set of High Gloss Shadowline black M-sport brake calipers and darker kidney grilles also make an appearance. From a distance and to the untrained eye, it’s easy to see how the Golden Thunder 8 Series may even appear to be gilded in real gold—an illusion that owes its success to the creative minds from BMW Individual.
As expected of a BMW special-edition vehicle, the Golden Thunder 8 Series also comes branded with “Edition Golden Thunder” embroidery on its headrests—just in case you forget its exclusivity. Also plucked from BMW’s customization division is black Merino leather interior trim, complemented by a deep anthracite-tinted headliner and package-specific aluminum mesh-effect gold interior trim. Crafted Clarity glass controls (which are exquisite, especially for the shift knob), as well as a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround-sound system, come standard.
Although details regarding pricing and production numbers remain shrouded in mystery, it is likely that the Golden Thunder special edition 8 Series will be limited to a few hundred units.
Although it seems that BMW has a habit of turning its already-premium top-of-the-line vehicles into even more luxurious variants of themselves (see Heritage M4 and Ultimate Sophisto i8), the German automaker’s new 8 Series—seemingly touched by Midas himself—may take the cake for being the wildest. Sure, it may have a rather comical name, and yes, it may seem redundant for BMW to keep producing so many special editions, but it’s sure hard to argue the premium feeling that a gold-flaked 8 Series brings.
Besides, it’s got our favorite current wheel design.—Malia Murphy
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]