Last week, a tip from the usual BMW insider Scott27 brought to our attention that in a recent product and planning meeting, BMW bosses were looking into the possibility of creating a Coupe and Convertible version of the BMW 5 Series.
Before we begin, we would like to mention that the news are highly speculative, and beside Scott’s track record, we cannot simply accept these as confirmed news.
This will not be BMW’s first attempt to build a convertible variant based on the 5 Series bodystyle. In 1989, Motorsport engineers developed an E34 M5 convertible, with two lengthened front doors and seating for four. It really did come very close to production – a price of 50,000 GBP was agreed, and space was even booked at the Geneva Motor Show. But one week before its intended debut, BMW “killed” it, believing it would have led to a demand for non-M 5 Series convertibles, which might have dented drop-top 3 Series sales.”
The BMW M5 E34 Cabrio had a soft fabric roof top.
So, let’s have a look at what Scott27 had to share, even though we are still quite reluctant that a new variant of the 5 Series would make sense in the current or future line-up. While the 5 Series GT has its own place and niche, a 5 Series Coupe or Convertible are tough to be marketed. With the new Gran Coupe Concept coming out in just a few years, BMW closes another gap against the competition and leaves less room for a new 5 Series variant.
“It all depends on how you class the BMW 6er in its previous (E63) generation? It was more of a 5er Coupe rather than the 7er, although its looks were more in the same vein as the previous BMW 7er the E65, from the sharper front to that aerodynamic rear trunk design.
Of course, the 6er was not originally destined to be called the 6er, as it was BMW’s intention to reimagine the 8er which is why the looks look closer to the E65 rather then the E60. Until they finally bit the bullet to launch the E63 as the new 6er, a reincarnation of a BMW classic which depends on who you were did not go down as well as expected.
In the present day with the next generation or third generation BMW 6er on the horizon, BMW have made the new car slightly larger and more powerful in appearance with the car giving a powerful expression of performance and luxury, which will see a slight increase in price and status. The 6er will be BMW’s top Coupe and there will not be an 8er . That time has passed, as the 6er becomes BMW’s top flight Coupe.
The question remains: what happens to BMW’s mid-segment Coupe?
Seriously considered in response to the Mercedes-Benz CE Coupe and Cabrio. BMW’s R&D chief Wolfgang Reitzle commissioned a Coupe and Cabrio proposal for the then BMW 5er (The E34) , the success of the 3er coupe and cabrio prompted Reitzle to investigate if such a project would be feasible for the 5er, plus observations at the CE Mercedes-Benz proved an enticing concept to expand the 5er portfolio and increase the 5er’s image.
Both Coupe and Cabrio models were built to investigate the market and BMW’s board of management were impressed by the two concepts , especially at the salivating idea of an M5 Coupe. Unfortunately the world-wide recession was about to blow in killing the projects chances and with it some other proposals such as the 8er cabrio and M8 Super car.
Forced to concentrate all resources on the highly successful “recession” buster the BMW E36 3er – the car that took the 3er in a new direction and of course BMW to new heights.
BMW always had the 5er Coupe and Cabrio at the back of its mind and finally decided to show a proposal as a Concept Car, in this case a prototype Cabrio was created but as an M5. Internal politics especially with the arrival of the new 3er Cabrio in E36 form stopped the Cabrio dead in its tracks.
With the BMW portfolio now, the lower models such as the 1er and 3er offer a full range of versatile options which secure the 1er and 3er as the most profit driven BMW models a claim that will be further tested when the new platform strategy kicks in with an enticing new series of concepts aimed at forecast future growth in the lower segments.
The upper segments have not been forgotten as well, with the BMW 6er inheriting a sedan-coupe model entitled Gran Coupe, an additional Shooting Brake has been designed and is being investigated as a concept.
The BMW 5er has also expanded with the 5er Gran Turismo and it is within the 5er that BMW are looking for another solution.
The new 5er (F10) has been a huge success in the following of its launch and the Touring is following suit with some markets not be able to deliver Touring models until early 2011 due to huge demand especially for the most complete BMW ever the – 520d Touring.
The big push in new models, entering new segments comes after 2012.
But as recently announced, BMW are investigating more concepts to increase sales and profitability. The strategy for the 1er and 3er are nearing completion, as is the strategy for the 6er, the 5er opens doors to possibilities.
especially to models that can be created using existing resources.
One of which is a 5er coupe and cabrio built using existing resources and filling the gap between 3er coupe and 6er.
In the proposal for the Coupe and Cabrio models of the F10, it is the identified to use as much as available to lower costs, something similar Mercedes has instigated for its C-Coupe.
The look of the Coupe is similar to the sedan except with stretched two doors, the rear lights come from the Touring models to push down costs and add extra identity. The key differences are the windscreen raked a few inches more towards the rear but keeping with the 5er’s Coupe like profile.
The front of the car receives a wider lower opening and reprofiled lights.
Interior and dash all remain the same except for a leather covered “hood” on one, the pillars on the centre console splitting driver from passenger, similar to the separate cockpit idea on the CS Concept.
The Cabrio follows the same ideas but in response to the 3er cabrio especially its popular fully functional hard-top. There are investigations to drop the folding hardtop created for the BMW 6er between BMW and an outside company into the 5er Cabrio.
The hardtop was removed when it proved impossible to adjust to weight and size especially in the need for a large trunk space. Using a hardtop would mean BMW would generate a profit as well as utilizing their investment of the installation of a production line to manufacture hardtops within the Dingolfling werk where the cars would be manufactured.
In reality both concepts were presented beautifully, recognizable as a 5er but with some differences to give it a very different identity, especially at the rear.
The question remains whether or not BMW finally take the step to recognize that the range could benefit from a new mid-line coupe or that the car could be too close to the 6er for comfort. It all depends on the final breakdown but the idea is to use as much as resources as available to drive down costs and generate profit.
Perhaps what has gone before might pass..or this time become a reality?”