At the Frankfurt auto show last fall, BMW chief Norbert Reithofer confirmed that his company would build what he called a “gran turismo” based on the CS concept car first unveiled at the Shanghai show the previous April. The CS, a low-slung four-door that is longer, lower, and wider than a 7-series, also indicates the design direction for BMW as it emerges from its widely criticized “flame surfacing” era. Although Reithofer referred to the new entry as a GT, its rivals will be the growing cadre of four-door coupes: the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the Aston Martin Rapide, and the Porsche Panamera. The BMW will be based on the upcoming new7-series and is expected to use the same powertrains. The challenge of making this larger and (presumably) heavier car into a sportier offering is in the hands of Gerhard Richter, who – with more than twenty-five years at BMW’s M division – seems well-qualified for the job.
A BIG OL’ SWANKY FOUR-DOOR BY ANY OTHER NAME: At least BMW isn’t calling it a four-door coupe – it’s a four-door GT. Because, you know, there’s a difference.