New BMW 8 Series X Jeff Koons arrives with comic-strip livery

More than 200 hours are sunk into to the BMW 8 Series X Jeff Koons' paintwork alone, and the brand plans to sell 99 examples of the rolling art piece to the public

BMW has unveiled its newest piece of rolling artwork – the 8 Series X Jeff Koons. As the badge suggests, it’s a special edition version of the 8 Series born from a partnership with the American artist Jeff Koons, who is best known for his creative depictions of everyday items. His most famous works are the sculptures “Rabbit” and “Balloon Dog.”

While the 8 Series X Jeff Koons certainly looks like one of BMW’s art cars, the company is adamant that it isn’t, because it isn’t a racing car, it won’t be held in the brand’s private collection and it isn’t a one-off. There are 99 examples available for the public to buy.

BMW’s art car tradition stretches back almost half a century to 1975, when the company’s then motorsport boss commissioned Alexander Calder to design the livery for the brand’s race-prepped 3.0 CSL. Koons himself has also created an official Art Car in the past, in the form of the M3 GT2 entered by BMW Motorsport in the 2010 Le Mans 24 hours.

For his latest partnership with BMW, Koons has created a pop art-inspired livery for the 8 Series Gran Coupe, which the company says is the most “elaborately designed vehicle” it has produced in its 106-year history – not least because the lairy exterior is complemented by an entirely retrimmed cabin.

BMW is also keen to point out that it takes more than 200 hours to apply the paint finish. So, even if the firm’s paintshop is working flat-out, it can only finish four cars each week.

Following the same conventions as the comic-strip-inspired exterior, the cabin is trimmed in a Spiderman-esque blend of red and blue leather upholstery. Jeff Koons has also dotted his signature around the cabin, with plaques hiding in the cupholder and on the dust jacket for the owner’s manual in the glovebox. Each vehicle will also be supplied with a large certificate of authenticity signed by Koons and BMW boss Oliver Zipse. 

Beneath the artistic makeover is a regular BMW 850i xDrive Gran Coupe. No mechanical changes have been made, meaning the art car is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine developing 522bhp and 750Nm of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and 0–62mph is dealt with in less than four seconds.

BMW hasn’t yet released a price for this special edition 8 Series, but given Koons’s sculpture “Rabbit” sold for more than $91 million (around £67 millon) the last time it passed over the auction block, it’ll be anything but cheap. 

The first example will be auctioned off this April, at Christie’s in New York, with all of the proceeds from the highest bid going to the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. The remaining 98 cars will be sold directly by BMW with a price on application.

Now click here to check BMW’s previous art car – a specially commissioned version of the M6 GTLM by John Baldessari

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