BMW Concept 8 Series exclusive first drive: Borrowing a priceless prototype

I’ve seen countless concept or prototype cars at auto shows and press junkets over the years. Rarely does anyone ever get to drive them, because concept cars are, well, only concepts. One of kind and invariably hand-built, they’re obscenely expensive, too. Their primary purpose in life is to showcase new styling and new technology. Think of them as eye candy aimed to grab attention, from everyone and especially away from the competition.

I confess, I’ve also long harbored a deep desire to just jump in and drive off into the sunset with one of these handmade concepts. Spoiler alert: that’s almost exactly what I did.

BMW’s Concept 8 Series is no exception to my felonious lusts, except that it’s exceptional in every respect when it was unveiled at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este at Lake Como, Italy. BMW couldn’t have picked a more prestigious and exclusive venue for the unveiling. There are only three major concours worth mentioning, with d’Eleganza sharing the spotlight with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. If you’re feeling particularly generous, the Goodwood Festival of Speed could nudge that total up to four.

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