Jeff Koon Creates His Dream Car With BMW
In an exclusive edition of only 99 automobiles, a strictly limited number of the M850i xDrive Gran Coupé were created by Jeff Koons and BMW during several years of close collaboration. With THE 8 X JEFF KOONS, the most elaborately designed vehicle in all of BMW‘s history will be presented to a global audience for the first time on the occasion of Frieze Los Angeles.
In an exclusive edition of only 99 automobiles, a strictly limited number of the M850i xDrive Gran Coupé were created by Jeff Koons and BMW during several years of close collaboration. With THE 8 X JEFF KOONS, the most elaborately designed vehicle in all of BMW’s history will be presented to a global audience for the first time on the occasion of Frieze Los Angeles. BMW is a long-term partner of the art fair; Jeff Koons is represented globally and at Frieze Los Angeles by Pace Gallery.
Jeff Koons, artist: “My edition of the BMW 8 Series is my dream car! It is very special to me, and I’ve wanted to create a special edition BMW for a long time. It is sporty and flashy as well as minimalist and conceptual. I can’t wait to drive it and ride in it, and I hope that people will enjoy the Gran Coupé just as much as I do. On the car, the lines are getting bigger on their journey from the hood towards the trunk, creating a sense of forwarding movement just as the ‘POP!’ and the vapour thrust design elements do. The blue colour resembles the vastness of space, and I like the idea of the car being global. What matters is how we relate to each other and our awareness of everything we are surrounded by. There is a heightened state of pleasure for the driver and all passengers. This is what my car has to offer.”
Over 200 hours of work time just for the exterior paint job
The expressive and striking design combines eleven different exterior colours ranging from blue to silver and from yellow to black. Jeff Koons will paint only four cars each week. The multi-coloured interior comprises high-end materials, fine leather and a cupholder lid with an edition badging and the artist’s signature. The seats are made up of striking red. Blue, which reflects the colours of superheroes from the comic book universe, as well as those of the company’s high-performance unit BMW M. Overall, the energetic and powerful design includes both elements of pop art as well as geometric patterns paying homage to the sporty 8 Series Gran Coupe’s intricate contours and shape. The exploding lines of colour at the rear, in turn, are their own unmediated homage to the artist’s 2010 BMW Art Car, while the “POP!” on each side as well as the vapour thrust imagery symbolizes the power and speed of THE 8 X JEFF KOONS, according to the artist.
Highly specialized professionals spent over 200 hours of manual work at the BMW Group plants in Dingolfing and Landshut on the exterior paintwork alone. The colour samples were often applied with magnifying glasses. “Energetic,” “tantalizing,” and “strong” is how international media described the car, following the publication of the first design studies on the occasion of the cooperation’s announcement in early September 2021 at Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne museum. “Dozens of engineers and designers have given their all to celebrate our partnership and make his vision come true,” said Oliver Zipse. The artist himself spent many days on-site at the Dingolfing plant over a period of numerous months discussing design options with the BMW employees involved. “I was thinking very intensely about it: What is the essence of the 8 Series Gran Coupé? What is the essence of power? How to create something that exemplifies all the energy of the BMW 8 Series that is also able to touch upon the human element?”
Koons signature in the Bavarian blue of the BMW logo
Each vehicle comes with a large-format certificate signed by Jeff Koons, which in addition to Oliver Zipse’s signature also contains the individual Vehicle Identification Number of the respective vehicle. The artist also designed the dust jacket of the Driver’s Manual. One further signature of the artist is let into the cupholder panel. Koons deliberately chose the Bavarian blue from the BMW logo.
The original BMW 850i was the first model of the 8 Series launched in 1990 and was celebrated as creating a new perspective of progress in advanced motoring, appealing to the connoisseur who acknowledges elegance and performance as the ultimate blend of perfection. THE 8 X JEFF KOONS also continues this tradition.
New York: Christie’s auction for a good cause
In 2010, the American artist created a unique BMW M3 GT2 Art Car, which performed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race and was unveiled at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. That same year, the rock singer Bono from U2 wrote in an editorial for the New York Times that Jeff Koons should have a part in designing the future car. BMW and Koons continued the conversation and, in early 2020, decided on a limited edition of the new BMW 8 Series Gran Coupé, which had its world premiere in January 2022.
Initially, THE 8 X JEFF KOONS will be displayed for the general public in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Plaza before one vehicle from the edition, signed on the tailgate by Jeff Koons, will be auctioned off at Christie’s in New York on April 4. All proceeds from the highest bid will go to the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC). Jeff Koons has been personally involved with this nonprofit NGO for over two decades.
Following its world premiere, THE 8 X JEFF KOONS will be presented at numerous art fairs and events in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including the 16th Istanbul Contemporary, Paris Photo, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Art Dubai, West Bund Art & Design Fair Shanghai and Art Basel Hong Kong.
History of the BMW Art Cars
Initiated by French race car driver and art aficionado Hervé Poulain and conceived in collaboration with the founder of BMW Motorsport Jochen Neerpasch, the first BMW Art Car was commissioned when both asked Alexander Calder to design Poulain’s BMW race car in 1975. Since then, 19 artists worldwide have created BMW automobiles of their time. The BMW Art Cars by Roy Lichtenstein, Esther Mahlangu, Jenny Holzer, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Ólafur Elíasson, Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, Cao Fei and John Baldessari, among others, are all inspired by developments in art, design and technology. Jeff Koons designed the 17th BMW Art Car in 2010, the BMW M3 GT2, which also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. On the occasion of 50 years of BMW Group Cultural Engagement last year, the Art Cars entered the digital realm and have been presented in augmented reality since then. Via the free Acute Art app, the digital rolling sculptures are accessible to everyone around the world at any time.
BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé:
Combined fuel consumption: 11.0 – 10.7 l/100 km according to WLTP,
combined CO2 emissions: 251 – 243 g/km according to WLTP.