said BMW Chief Designer Adrian Van Hooydonk in an interview for Autocar UK straight from the Beijing Motor Show. According to Van Hooydonk, the BMW Gran Coupe picks up on the work started four years ago with the CS Concept: “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 priority.”
Furthermore, the Gran Coupe inspiration came from classic BMWs, like the 3.0 Csi. “We drew inspiration from classic BMWs like the 3.0 Csi. Our intention was to create a car with a distinct character: I’m hoping you can tell that it’s not a 7-series replacement. The Gran Coupe is much lower, and a little wider than a 7, and has a much more fluid roofline.”, said Van Hooydonk for Autocar.
Despite the initial rumors, the car will most likely not going to be marketed as an 8 Series, but rather being part of the 6 Series group, 6 GT is one name that comes to mind.
It’s not my decision to make,” says Van Hooydonk. “I don’t think of this car as an 8-series, but our marketing department may think differently. Either way, their work is just beginning, and I know that often it can take longer than our design work!”
The production ready model will be launched in 2012 and the Gran Coupe Concept will make its European debut at the Paris Motor Show this fall. 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 is a bit over 16 feet long (5 meters) and its height is measured at 1.4 meters, sitting lower than the new 5 and 7 Series. It also features frameless windows as seen in the 5 GT.
Gran Coupe joins a car segment where the stars at the moment appear to the Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS and even Porsche Panamera.