- Plastic exterior components for strictly limited edition of BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé crafted at BMW Group Plant Landshut – Car designed by American artist Jeff Koons
- Biggest challenge for Landshut custom paint shop: “Capturing the spirit of the artist and implementing the details in a technical small-series process”
München / Landshut. Painting expertise from BMW Group Plant Landshut is currently being showcased in a strictly limited edition of the M850i xDrive Gran Coupé (fuel consumption combined: 11.0-10.7 l/100 km WLTP, CO2 emissions combined: 251-243 g/km WLTP) created by American artist Jeff Koons for a small production run of just 99 vehicles – the most elaborately designed vehicle in BMW history.
Around 2,000 painted plastic outer panel sections in 45 standard and 200 custom colours leave the Landshut plant every workday. This adds up to about half a million components a year, including bumpers, side-sills, spoilers and trim – not counting small-series and custom paintwork.
The Landshut paint specialists are now putting their years of expertise to work in a very special vehicle, a limited edition of the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé – THE 8 X JEFF KOONS. The car was designed by American artist Jeff Koons and features pop-art elements, as well as geometric patterns.
The special edition vehicles will be built at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing, while BMW Group Plant Landshut will supply all painted plastic outer panel sections, including the bumpers, side-sills, mirror caps, door handles and the tailgate. All components are crafted to the highest degree of precision.
“The biggest challenge was to understand and capture the spirit of the artist right from the start and to implement his very precise demands in detail by hand in a technical small-series process,” explains Hermann Knott, head of Production Paint and Finish. “This is also a very special project for us – because these cars are really sculptures on wheels.”
One of the most technically complex components for the vehicle is the stylish tailgate, requiring seven different colours and twelve coats of paint with a total thickness of less than 250 μ. For comparison, a human hair has a diameter of about 100 μ. “Applying multi-coloured paintwork is particularly challenging as far as haptics and optics are concerned,” explains Knott. The so-called “multitone” process used for this was specially developed at the Landshut custom paint shop. “We had various meetings with Jeff Koons’ team, where we discussed everything needed for the process in detail,” reports Knott.
A key element was how to realise the artist’s one-dimensional design in three-dimensional, geometric vehicle components. A computer programme connected to a laser projector was used to ensure the accuracy of every detail. The laser then projected the design in linear form onto the respective component. The contours between individual layers of paint were meticulously hand stencilled, a task requiring years of experience and craftsmanship.
Most of the roughly 100 employees involved in the project received special additional training to be able to meet the artistic requirements. “Crafting the Jeff Koons components is different to both our standard finishing by robots and our established custom painting processes. It requires considerable individual experience and flair, because there are many influencing factors,” explains Knott.
“Taking pleasure in innovation and craftsmanship are two outstanding characteristics of our staff at the Landshut location. That is why we are especially proud that our Exterior Plastic team is once again setting the benchmark for custom paintwork,” says Dr Stefan Kasperowski, head of BMW Group Plant Landshut.
THE 8 X JEFF KOONS
THE 8 X JEFF KOONS is the embodiment of precision, sophistication and craftsmanship. It took 285 hours to apply its multiple coats of paint, for instance, since its impressively expressive design combines 11 different colours, from blue to silver and yellow to black. This means only two car bodies can be painted per week. The multi-coloured interior is characterised by its impressive use of high-quality materials and the finest leather, in addition to featuring the artist’s signature. The seats are in rich hues of red and blue, the colours of superheroes from the comic universe and the high-performance brand BMW M. The sporty, powerful design features both pop-art elements and geometric patterns – a nod to the sophisticated lines and forms of the 8 Series Gran Coupé.
The lines of colour that explode across the rear of the vehicle are a direct tribute to the artist’s own 2010 BMW Art Car. According to Koons, the “POP!” stencilled on the sides and the swirls of wind symbolise the power and speed of THE 8 X JEFF KOONS. The BMW 850i was the first BMW 8 Series model to be introduced back in 1990. Acclaimed for its visionary approach to the future of driving, it appealed to car lovers who appreciate its perfect union of elegance and performance. Highly skilled specialists at BMW Plants Dingolfing and Landshut spent almost 300 hours working by hand on the exterior paintwork of THE 8 X JEFF KOONS alone, often using a magnifying glass to apply its colourful patterns.