BMW to Create a New Line of Ultra-Luxury Cars With Unique Branding

Jodi Lai
by Jodi Lai

When some people think luxury, visions of 100-foot yachts, mansion parties and diamond-encrusted watches often come to mind.

BMW is trying to go down a different path and wants to change the way people think about luxury.

“What we want to achieve is modern luxury, not the old-world idea of bling bling and more of everything,” said Hildegard Wortmann, senior vice president of BMW, adding that the luxury BMW is going after is rooted in an attitude and not necessarily material things or flash.

“It’s about forward thinking, people who have achieved things in their lives and want to make a contribution to society, people who fight stagnation — it’s a very modern and visionary approach to luxury.”

Wortmann says there are two very concrete ways BMW is going about achieving this admittedly lofty goal.

The first is an entirely new lineup of ultra-luxury vehicles. The 7 Series is currently the only “ultra-luxury” vehicle in the BMW lineup but the upcoming X7 SUV and 8 Series grand tourer will usher in a new generation of opulence for the German brand. Think about how Aston Martin is held to a higher luxury standard than BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, for example. These new BMWs are aiming for that higher-end, more exclusive experience.

Besides being physically large, because luxury is often large, these upcoming vehicles will have their own unique styling to differentiate them from the copy-and-paste looks of the rest of the BMW lineup. The more crisp styling and distinctive visual identity as seen on the 8 Series and X7 concepts and the unique and modern interiors hint at what’s to come. These cars will focus more on clean design that is detail-oriented and has a handcrafted feel both inside and out.

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The second part of the luxury shift is branding. All communication and signage for these new ultra-luxury BMWs will use a black and white roundel and will have Bayerische Motoren Werke spelled out in full. “It’s a bit of an analogy to what you see in haute couture,” Wortmann says.

Calvin Klein, for example, will be spelled out in full typeface for the more exclusive collection and then the CK abbreviation will be used for the more affordable and accessible line. Bayerische Motoren Werke will be used for the higher-end lineup, while the rest will continue to use the BMW designation.

“We have over 100 years of history and we can be very proud of that and we can use Bayerische Motoren Werke in full writing to help express the upmarket luxury ambiance,” she says. Wortmann understands the dilemma that most people can’t even pronounce it, but she doesn’t see it as a problem.

“I think it’s part of the myth and culture as well,” she says. “A lot of fashion brands have the same problem, but it doesn’t matter because everybody still knows it’s very luxurious, it’s a top brand, and it’s aspirational.”

Discuss this story on our BMW Forum

Jodi Lai
Jodi Lai

Jodi has been obsessed with cars since she was little and has been an automotive journalist for the past 12 years. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto, is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and a jury member for the prestigious North American Car/Truck/Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY). Besides hosting videos, and writing news, reviews and features, Jodi is the Editor-in-Chief of and takes care of the site's day-to-day operations.

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  • Mujtaba Mujtaba on Oct 03, 2017

    What a stupid idea

    • B Weir B Weir on Oct 24, 2017

      I agree. I would love to hear how BMW thinks this is going to improve their sinking reliability ratings and resale values.