BMW is the quintessential example of an automaker filling every imagined gap in its lineup, no matter how small or wacky that new segment might be. Look no further than the X5, X6, and 5-series Gran Turismo sitting in a row at your local dealer if you need proof. Now it’s time for the Bavarians to show off a new design that sticks with the brand’s core values of “dynamic performance and high-quality elegance,” while making the rest of us scratch our heads.
According to BMW, the Gran Coupe is “the vision of a four-door with the exclusivity of a Gran Turismo and the fascination of a high-performance sports car.” To us, it seems like a pretty detailed preview of the next-generation 6 Series, but with an extra pair of doors to appease sedan-loving Chinese showgoers.
“Cars for this market should have four doors,” said Adrian von Hooydonk, the man in charge of BMW’s design teams. “If it has four seats, it should have four doors, as the Chinese put a lot of emphasis on family and friends.”
Speaking of family, plenty of the Gran Coupe’s styling cues are culled from its various relatives. In general, the car’s profile — deemed a “flat silhouette” by designers — is new, but the proportions, finely detailed surfacing, and use of the traditional Hoffmeister kink are ripped straight from BMW’s back pages.
But this isn’t a reincarnated design, like the Z07 roadster concept, or its production twin, the Z8. Designers have worked hard to move BMW’s design ethic forward, and they’ve succeeded. The hallmark kidney grille is elongated and rounded, as is the car’s entire front fascia. The Gran Coupe’s sides receive character lines that stretch 16.4 feet — the entire length of the car — and help define flared wheel arches, filled with 20-inch wheels with relief-milled spokes that beautifully extend into the center of the rim.
At 4.6 feet tall, the Gran Coupe is almost four inches lower than the new 5 Series. Von Hooydonk says the wheelbase is shorter than that of a short 7 Series, but wouldn’t elaborate, saying only that the car is wider, lower, more fluidic, and has a lower roofline.
We’ve yet to hear if BMW plans on pushing the Gran Coupe into production as you see it, as von Hooydonk, ever the artful dodger, demurred on all questions regarding its future. We wouldn’t be surprised if the concept influences the final look of the next 6 Series, but given BMW’s taste for niche busting, we’d bet the four-door coupe eventually comes to fruition.