BMW has stolen the headlines at the Beijing show by unveiling its Gran Coupe coupe, a five-metre, four-door, coupe-like saloon that’s rumoured to be headed into production as a new 8-series flagship.
The Gran Coupe has been designed to fuse the abilities of a GT and a sports car. It’s roof is 100mm lower than a current 7-series saloon, and its rear quarters slightly more restricted. As such, it’s expected to sire a direct production rival for the Maserati Quattroporte, Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera.
“It’s true that the Gran Coupe points to a specific model, a saloon with the presence and elegance of a 7-series but a more dynamic, sporty character: much more of a driver’s car,” says BMW design chief Adrian van Hooydonk. “We’re convinced that we should make a car like this.”
The Gran Coupe’s production version will come along in 2012, according to BMW insiders. Underneath it will use the same ‘backbone’ platform that underpins the current 5-series, 7-series and 5 GT. The car will offer the same mix of six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel engines as those cars, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The Gran Coupe picks up on the work started four years ago with the Concept CS show car, which appeared at the Shanghai motor show in 2007.
“We all liked the idea of a more dynamic flagship four-door back then,” explains van Hooydonk, “but we put the car ‘on ice’ while working on ‘Project I’ [BMW’s new Megacity electric-only brand], which has been a bigger prority.”
“Now we’ve had the opportunity to revisit the CS and update it, and I think everyone inside of BMW is pleased with the results.”