Glam or Gauche? BMW's Golden Thunder Edition


BMW has announced that it will make its new Golden Thunder Edition trim package available on most 8 Series derivatives from September 2020 onward. Is it a suitably glamorous and exclusive upgrade for the Munich brand’s flagship model – or a cynical and chintzy add-on to shore up demand for the slow-selling range? We'll let you decide…

Even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic slammed the brakes on vehicle sales across the globe, several online motoring titles were reporting that BMW’s 8 Series was selling especially slowly. It was surprising, given that the brand's flagship range is relatively new to the market and was recently expanded into Convertible and Gran Coupe variants.

And, as is the wont of Internet commentators, several theories have been put forward to explain the low demand: the Munich-based brand hasn't marketed its flagship range intensively enough or made a concerted effort to differentiate its 8 Series variants in consumers' minds; it's too expensive compared with the range it replaced (6 Series) and competes in a shrinking market segment; it lacks the brand cache to compete with super-luxury marques, such as Bentley.

Note how the gold striping flows from the middle of the rear bumper into rear corners of the 8 Series' side skirts.

Whichever theory is the closest to the truth, BMW has decided to do something in a bid to ensure that its otherwise accomplished 8 Series does not suffer the same fate as its ill-fated E31 precursor, which arrived with much fanfare in 1989, but sold slowly until it was quietly discontinued in 1999. The 8 Series nameplate was only resurrected about 2 decades later...

Now, the Munich-based brand says it’s raising the 8 Series “to collector’s item status” by availing a trim package of BMW Individual design and equipment features named “Edition Golden Thunder” – yes, that’s the order in which the words are embroidered on the Coupe and Gran Coupe’s front headrests and Alcantara Anthracite roof liners.

The Golden Thunder Edition enhances the standard M Sport Package. Golden 20-inch double-spoke rims are included.

From September 2020, 8 Series Coupe, Gran Coupe and Convertible derivatives (from the 840i to the M850i xDrive, but excluding the top-of-the-range M8) will be optionally available with the Golden Thunder Edition trim package, which features – you guessed it – liberal lashings of gold accents, directly from the BMW factory in Dingolfing.

The additional trim supplements the adornments of the M Sport package, which is standard on those derivatives, to give such-equipped derivatives the “character of a custom-built vehicle (sic),” BMW says.

A Golden Thunder Edition 8 Series derivative is finished in either Sapphire Black- or Frozen Black metallic, replete with golden accent lines on the bumpers and along the side skirts, matched with similarly-finished side-mirror housings, an M boot spoiler (exclusively available on the Coupe version) as well as 20-inch M double-spoke light-alloy wheels.

Inside, the trim package includes aluminium mesh-effect gold inserts/finishes, as well as an edition emblem.

For further contrast, the gold elements are combined with BMW Individual High Gloss Shadow Line trim and black calipers for the cars' M Sport braking system.

Inside, apart from the aforementioned embroidered front headrests and BMW Individual roof liner (in the case of the Coupe and Gran Coupe), the Golden Thunder Edition features extended BMW Individual black Merino leather trim in combination with aluminium mesh-effect gold inserts/finishes, as well as an edition emblem.

Finally, Golden Thunder Edition-equipped derivatives feature CraftedClarity glass finishes for selected controls and a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system.

Does the special trim package improve the appeal of the 8 Series family appreciably... or is the plethora of gold accents overkill? Please let us know.

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