• 2018 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky Edition

A week into 2019 and we already have a front-runner for most unique one-off creation of the year

In an industry where standing out is imperative, BMW has found a way to create a one-off M850i xDrive Coupe using a material that’s literally out of this world. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky Edition, and it comes with applications made from meteoritic material grace selected controls. The one-off M850i is the creation of BMW’s Individual customization division, and it arrived in time for the first meteor shower of 2019, which took place all over the world on January 3. It’s unclear if the M850i Night Sky Edition is earmarked for a specific person. What’s clear, though, is that BMW Individual is off to a rousing start in 2019. If future projects are as interesting as this, Bimmer’s personalization division could have a huge year in its hands.

What Makes the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe So Special

2018 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky Edition Exterior
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Asking the question on what makes the BMW M850i Night Sky Edition special seems like an exercise in futility, doesn’t it? I mean, the very fact that this coupe is wearing something that’s literally from space is a good indication that it’s special. “How do you top this?” should be the right to question to ask.

In any case, this is about as unique a one-off creation as you’ll find in the auto industry this year.

BMW Individual started by dressing up the BMW M850i Night Sky Edition in a deep, non-metallic shade of black.

That’s easy enough to do, but Bimmer’s personalization division went above and beyond that by using a San Marino Blue Metallic paint on the lower section of the coupe, starting at the top of the fenders. This was done intentionally so that the shade doesn’t come into full view until after your gaze drifts to the coupe’s lower sills. What’s the reason for this, you ask? You’ll find out soon enough.

2018 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky Edition Exterior
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For now, turn your attention towards the mirror caps. It looks like a standard set of mirror caps, sure, but the material BMW Individual used on the component is anything but standard.

Those are inlaid hunks of meteorite, folks, wearing the distinctive Widmanstätten surface pattern that’s common only to these extraterrestrial rocks.

For those who are unaware of the Widmanstätten pattern, it’s a unique geometric structure made up of random straight lines that only becomes visible when certain types of iron meteorite are polished or brought into contact with acidic compounds. This only happens when metal alloy cools down in an extremely slow process. By slow, I mean millions of years. Such a process can’t be reproduced on Earth for obvious reasons. Not only does it make it unique, but it’s so unique that it can only be found in space. Why is it called the Widmanstätten pattern? It’s named after Austrian scientist and resident count Alois von Beckh Widmanstätten, who was credited for discovering the pattern.

The meteorite material is mostly used in the interior of the M850i, but, in addition to the mirror caps, the pattern was also used on the front splitters for the side air intakes at the front of the car. Likewise, the center mesh plate and the surrounds for the M850i’s Air Breathers on the front side panels also get in on the fun.

2018 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky Edition Interior
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Now, let’s move to the interior, which, admittedly, is beyond words. The same inlaid hunks of meteorite can be seen in the center console trim plate. You’d have to be visually challenged to miss it. The engine start-stop button, the iDrive controller, the top strip of the gearshift, and the side sills are also adorned in the extraterrestrial material. The Widmanstätten pattern is also visible in the seats, specifically in the embossed stitching pattern on the backrest of the seats and the headliner above. Slamming home the point of this one-off’s identity is the center armrest, which is dressed in a starry constellation that’s no different from what Rolls-Royce’s Starlight headliner option looks like, right down to the LED units that are used to illuminate the surface of the armrest.

Think you have to look up to see the constellations? In this car, you just need to look at the armrest to see it in all its haze-less wonder.

And just so its clear, even the coupe’s carpeting gets a touch of special edition goodness with its Midnight Blue finish. I’m surprised, though, that the floor mats couldn’t get any love. Not enough meteorite fragments, I suppose.

The use of meteorite and the Widmanstätten pattern in the exterior and interior of the BMW M850i is special enough in its own right. But BMW Individual threw in another surprise for the one-off coupe: 3D-printed brake calipers. Mind you; these aren’t just 3D-printed; they’re designed to meet the minimum weight required for technical requirements. BMW says that the bone-like calipers are 30 percent lighter than their traditional counterparts but still retain their strength and rigidity. Somehow, it’s hard not to believe what the automaker says if it managed to use materials from a space rock in the coupe.

2018 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky Edition Exterior
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About the only thing disappointing about the BMW M850i Night Sky Edition is the absence of any engine upgrades. Fortunately, Bimmer’s flagship coupe isn’t lacking in that department anyway. It utilizes a revised version of Bimmer’s trusty 4.4-liter V-8 engine that produces 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. All that power goes to all four wheels courtesy of an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, which, in turn, helps the coupe accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds before it hits a top speed of 155 mph.

Sadly, all the glowing things I’ve said about the BMW M850i Night Sky Edition is likely for naught.

BMW didn’t say if the coupe is available, though as a one-off, there’s a good chance that somebody already owns this masterclass in customization. To that person, dear sir, you are lucky beyond words. Just make sure not to mess up your one-off ride because replacing some of its materials would likely require a very expensive trip to a location that, quite frankly, is harder to go to than most.

Further Reading

2019 BMW 8 Series Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 8 Series.

2020 BMW 8 Series Convertible Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 8 Series Convertible.

1989 - 1999 BMW 8-series
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Read our full review on the original 1998-1999 BMW 8 Series.

2019 BMW 8 Series High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
About the author

Note: all images courtesy of BMW.

For over 25 years now, the BMW Individual Manufaktur customisation facility in Garching near Munich has been producing exceptionally high-quality equipment features, extraordinary special-edition models and spectacular one-offs – all sporting a highly distinctive design and further enriched by the world’s finest, most precious materials. And the bespoke styling specialists have now opened up a new dimension in exclusivity by looking beyond our planet and bringing the night sky into the car. In the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky (fuel consumption combined: 9.8 – 9.7 l/100 km [28.8 – 29.1 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 224 – 221 g/km), applications made from meteoritic material grace selected controls. Human fascination with the infinite vastness of the universe is also mirrored in the illuminated constellations of stars on the centre console and in the surface design of the luxury sports car’s trim finishers, seat backrests, brake discs and exterior add-on parts, which draws inspiration from celestial bodies.

The BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky will be presented in the run-up to an exceptionally intense meteor shower expected to take place overnight from 3 – 4 January 2019. The show of shooting stars will begin when the Earth briefly passes through the orbit of the asteroid 2003 EH, during which time fragments from the asteroid will enter our planet’s atmosphere and burn up. On rare occasions, smaller rocks in space penetrate our planet’s protective shield and fall to Earth as meteorites. Some of these extra-terrestrial fragments have now been incorporated into the cabin of the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky.

By employing materials that are literally out of this world, BMW Individual Manufaktur has succeeded in giving the car unique and highly original aesthetic appeal and, in the process, pushed back the boundaries once again of what can be achieved when designing a car interior. The meteoritic rock adorns the whole of the centre console’s trim plate, the start/stop button for the V8 engine, the selector lever for the eight-speed Steptronic transmission and the Touch Controller for the iDrive system, creating a visual and tactile effect unparalleled in the automotive sector. Inlays made from meteorite material have also been incorporated into the door sill finishers, together with an illuminated model badge. All of which ensures the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky embodies luxury and exclusivity at an unprecedented level.

BMW Individual Manufaktur: birthplace of one-off specimens with a character of their own.
The BMW Individual Manufaktur customisation facility has always specialised in the production of one-off creations that lend expression to BMW drivers’ personal sense of style. Its mission is to turn individual customer requests into reality. The specialists from BMW Individual work together with the customer to produce bespoke solutions that range from extraordinary exterior paint finishes to exotic materials for the interior, special equipment features, accessories, stitching patterns, engravings and inlays. During the design and manufacturing process, creativity, attention to detail, craftsmanship, an uncompromising commitment to quality and a flair for the exceptional merge together to create truly unique cars.

In its quest for new creative possibilities, new combinations of materials and new processing techniques, BMW Individual frequently collaborates with big design names and famous luxury firms from other sectors. Input from artists and scientists helps to build the know-how needed to develop new products and exclusive one-offs. In designing the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky, BMW Individual called on the expertise of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, which is also located in Garching.

One of a kind: Widmanstätten-patterned surfaces.
Expanding on the use of meteoritic material for the controls inside the sports car, the design of many other interior and exterior elements takes its cues from a structure that only occurs in natural form on extra-terrestrial objects: the distinctive Widmanstätten surface pattern of meteorites. The strictly geometric structure, with its straight lines, has the appearance of ice crystals and becomes visible when certain types of iron meteorite are polished or brought into contact with acidic compounds. The structure is the result of the metal alloy cooling down in an extremely slow process that cannot be reproduced on Earth, making it an unmistakable signature of extra-terrestrial material. The unique pattern was first observed back in the early 19th century by a number of people, including the Austrian scientist Alois von Beckh Widmanstätten, after whom it is named.

The singularity of the Widmanstätten structure is symbolic of BMW Individual’s ongoing pursuit of innovative design solutions never seen before. Visible in the hand-stitched headliner and on the centre console’s trim finishers, it has also been milled into the brake discs of the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky. This distinctive meteorite pattern can also be found on the exterior mirror caps, the front splitters for the side air intakes at the front of the car, the centre mesh plate and the surrounds for the Air Breathers on the front side panels. These exterior components were all specially developed for the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky and individually manufactured using a 3D printing process.

The result of motor sport and manufacturing know-how: innovative, ultralight brake callipers with bionic design, made using 3D printing methods.
The same innovative additive manufacturing process is employed for making the brake callipers. Here, 3D printing techniques take intelligent lightweight design to a new level. The aluminium brake callipers with bionic design fitted on the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky were developed by BMW Motorsport and are up to 30 per cent lighter than components produced using conventional methods. The substantial reduction in unsprung mass produces a noticeable improvement in driving dynamics and ride comfort.

The BMW Group harnessed both its motor sport know-how and its expertise in the application of 3D printing for aluminium components to help it develop and manufacture the pioneering, bionic-design brakes. When creating the brake callipers, it was possible to reduce their mass to the minimum required to meet technical requirements, meaning that only the material needed for the brakes to work is used. The resulting form, whose construction mimics that of bones – with an optimum balance between component rigidity and weight – can only be produced using an additive manufacturing method and not with conventional casting techniques. What is more, it was possible to incorporate the brake fluid channels into the structure of the brake callipers. Additive manufacturing was again key to producing this integral design, which has additional benefits for the installation and rigidity of the lightweight braking system.

Innovations for individuality: leather trim in tri-colour design and LED-illuminated star constellations on the centre console.
BMW Individual fine-grain Merino leather trim in tri-colour design and the Opal White/Midnight Blue/Silver colour scheme constitute another first for interior styling. The Widmanstätten structure – a defining feature of the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky interior – is repeated in the stitching pattern for the seat centre sections.

The centre console armrests add another touch of brilliance, their special design inspired by the glittering heavens at night. LED units are used to illuminate their surfaces, producing the effect of a star-studded sky and giving the luxury sports car’s cabin a richly atmospheric feel. Deep-pile carpeting in Midnight Blue puts the finishing touches to the stylish interior ambience.

The exterior paintwork of the BMW Individual M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky adds to its captivating aura. The BMW Individual special paint finish deftly combines two colour tones to achieve a high-impact effect. Black non-metallic was used as the base colour for the body. A second coat in San Marino Blue metallic was then painted over it in a graduated effect from the bottom edge of the body up to the top of the wheel arches. Finally, three layers of clear coat with varying pigment particle sizes were applied to give the paint finish a remarkable sense of depth.

The perfect platform for a mesmerising one-off: the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe luxury sports car.
The new BMW M850i xDrive Coupe provided the ideal basis for this sensational one-off model from BMW Individual Manufaktur. With its 390 kW/530 hp V8 engine, track-tuned chassis technology and BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system, the four-seater brings a new brand of sporting flair, emotional appeal and hallmark BMW driving pleasure to the luxury segment. Developed alongside both the BMW M8 and the BMW M8 GTE endurance racing car, the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe is built around a flawlessly honed overall concept that translates into captivating performance on the road. Sophisticated chassis systems enable the coupe to cover an exceptionally broad spectrum between sportiness and comfort, complementing the car’s dynamic prowess with outstanding everyday usability and long-distance capability.

The BMW M850i xDrive Coupe’s emotionally engaging body design is a product of the brand’s new design language, which conveys sporting appeal, sensual allure and exclusiveness through a core focus on precision and clarity. Like the optional carbon-fibre roof, a selection of special details elsewhere on the car serve to optimise its aerodynamic properties and lower its weight. Together with its low centre of gravity, long wheelbase and wide tracks, this helps the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe to blend sports performance and luxurious ride comfort more cohesively than any other car in its segment.

The figures for fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and power consumption are calculated based on the measurement methods stipulated in the current version of Regulation (EU) 2007/715. The information is based on a vehicle with basic equipment in Germany; ranges take into account differences in wheel and tyre size selected as well as optional equipment and can change during configuration.

The details marked * have already been calculated based on the new WLTP test cycle and adapted to NEDC for comparison purposes. In these vehicles, different figures than those published here may apply for the assessment of taxes and other vehicle-related duties which are (also) based on CO2 emissions.

For further details of the official fuel consumption figures and official specific CO2emissions of new cars, please refer to the "Manual on fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and power consumption of new cars", available at sales outlets, from Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH (DAT), Hellmuth-Hirth-Str. 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen and at http://www.dat.de/angebote/verlagsprodukte/leitfaden-kraftstoffverbrauch.html.

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