BMW’s Individual customisation facility near Munich has revealed a new special edition of the BMW 8 Series Coupé. Featuring controls made from actual meteoric material, extra-terrestrial surface patterns, illuminated constellations on the centre console and 3D-printed components, the new BMW Individual M850i Night Sky feels literally out of this world.

BMW Individual M850i Night Sky Headlights and Grille


The use of meteoric rock can be found on the whole of the centre console’s trim plate, the start/stop button, the selector lever for the eight-speed Steptronic transmission and the Touch Controller for the iDrive system. Furthermore, inlays made from meteorite material can also be seen on the door sill finishers, together with an illuminated model badge.

“The Muonionalusta meteorite is truly something quite special,” says Dr Thomas Müller, the astrophysicist based at Munich’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. “It’s not only the oldest iron meteorite we have on Earth. Its value also lies in its extraordinary aesthetics, as the Widmanstätten patterns are especially clearly marked on this meteorite.”

Illuminated 'NIGHT SKY' badge


Known officially as the Widmanstätten surface pattern, named after an Austrian scientist who discovered the patterns in 1808, this design feature can only be found on unearthly objects such as meteorites. The one-off nature of the Widmanstätten structure represents the core belief driving BMW Individual – an ongoing pursuit of innovative design solutions never seen before.

This distinctive graphic element can be found on the exterior mirror caps, the front splitters for the side air intakes, the centre mesh plate and the surrounds for the air breathers on the front side panels. It is also seen in the hand-stitched headliner, the centre console’s trim finishers, and the brake discs.

BMW M850i Night Sky mirror caps


A specialist 3D printing team, led by Alexander Fickerl, was assigned to the M850i Night Sky production. Their mission was to create a unique masterpiece that utilised BMW’s rich history and knowledge in motorsport and manufacturing. For this reason, the M850i Night Sky comes with enhanced elements made from 3D printing methods, such as the ultralight brake callipers with bionic design. This innovative process delivers a noticeable improvement in driving dynamics and ride comfort.

“Here, we were able to exploit the benefits of the additive process in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in a conventional casting process. For the production of the callipers, we even used a process that is also applied in space technology for producing rocket propulsion assemblies,” Alexander Fickerl explains.

BMW M850i Night Sky side view


Adding to the allure of this special edition are some never-seen-before details. This includes BMW Individual fine-grain Merino leather trim in tri-colour design, an Opal White/Midnight Blue/Silver colour scheme, and star-studded LED units illuminating the centre armrest. What’s more, the BMW Individual special paint finish combines two colour tones – Black non-metallic and San Marino Blue metallic – that adds to the Night Sky’s ethereal aesthetic.

Heading up the team tasked with creating the Night Sky’s unique aura was Johann Bogner. “We shut ourselves away in the paint shop during the summer closedown of August 2018 so we wouldn’t hold up production,” the 55-year-old explains. “The weather outside was great. But to me, painting the car seemed more appealing.”

Star-studded LED units on the centre armrest


Dr Thomas Müller: Astrophysicist based at Munich’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics – “Never before have I seen meteoric metal so finely cut and processed.”

Alexander Fickerl: Leading a team of 15 3D printing experts on the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky project, Alexander is responsible for technical integration at the BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Center in Munich – “The rapid transformation of ideas and visions into tangible components is what I find fascinating about the additive manufacturing process, particularly when prototyping.”

Johann Bogner: Supported by a very talented team, Johan has an impressive 40-year career in the paint shop of BMW’s Dingolfing plant – “I was fascinated by the idea of transferring the sparkle of the stars into the paintwork.”

3D printing process

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