It's just 12 hours since China landed a probe on the dark side of the moon, but BMW is already looking to one up the world's most populous nation with an interstellar achievement of its own: an 8 Series encrusted with bonafide pieces of a real life asteroid. The one-off M850i 'Night Sky' contains fragments of poetically named asteroid 2003 EH, as well as a number of star-related design tweaks for its owner, who may be pleased to note that their car arrives on a rather significant day for space exploration.
The meteorite material of 2003 EH has been integrated into the Night Sky's centre console, iDrive rotary knob and starter button. Perhaps not the most befitting resting place for cosmic rock that's made a multi-million-mile journey from the outer reaches of our solar system, but it does at least mean the driver will make frequent contact with the bits of asteroid. Which is quite cool, we guess.
The pattern and texture of the rock - which gets its unique, ridged appearance thanks to the extremely slow cooling of metal alloy enabled only in space - has been recreated on the car's wing mirror covers, front splitters and side air intakes using 3D printing. The same manufacturing technique has been used to make the car's brake calipers, which are 30 per cent lighter. Inside, the seats' stitching mimics the colour of the meteorite material, while the Midnight Blue carpet is said to represent the colour of a night sky. To portray the stars, there's an LED-illuminated centre armrest.
The timing of this bespoke 8 Series' launch deliberately coincides with Earth's latest pass-by of 2003 EH, when more fragments of the space rock will fall to the ground in two-day-long meteor shower that starts today. Only a small amount of material is likely to make it to the ground as meteorites, though, meaning anyone wanting bits of 2003 EH stuck to their next BMW might need to get moving quickly...
As a bespoke vehicle, no pricing has been announced, but expect a fairly large increase over the regular 530hp M850i's £100,045 list value.