BMW's R&D chief has revealed the firm's upcoming four-door coupé would be positioned alongside the 6-series in terms of pricing and technology, but what badge it will take for production has yet to be confirmed.
Klaus Draeger told Autoweek that the luxury coupé, revealed as the Gran Coupé concept earlier this year, would definitely make production in 2012, but whether it will be pitched as an 8-series or a four-door version of the 6-series was not confirmed.
Draeger said the new car's 2012 launch would follow that of the two-door 6-series next year.
The Concept Gran Coupé was designed to fuse the abilities of a GT and a sports car. Its roof is 100mm lower than a current 7-series saloon, and its rear quarters slightly more restricted.
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.
Draeger said a hybrid version was also possible. “We are in position to bring out an additional hybrid version since we are using the same powertrain architecture as the 5-, 6- or 7-series,” he said.
As well as testing the water for a BMW-built rival for the Audi A7, the Gran Coupé is intended to distill and concentrate BMW’s design values. As such, it’s likely to have a far-reaching influence throughout the styling of many of BMW’s future model lines.
That means we should expect to see the Gran Coupé’s long wheelbase, vaulted bonnet, shark nose, rearward set glasshouse, low silhouette and short front overhang become part of BMW’s trademark design language, as well as its asymmetrical kidney grille, wide frontal air intake and frameless doors.
“It’s true that the Gran Coupé 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,” said BMW design chief Adrian van Hooydonk at the car's launch in China earlier this year. “We’re convinced that we should make a car like this.”