At an exclusive Design Night at Auto China in Beijing, BMW provided an insight into its design philosophy and development strategy. In addition to highlighting the long wheelbase versions of the BMW 5 Series developed specially for the Chinese market, the main focus was on the BMW Concept Gran Coupe.
As the successor to the aborted Concept CS four-door coupe concept from 2007, it shows that BMW is once again looking at this market segment currently occupied by the Mercedes CLS. The concept is thought to represent the next generation BMW 8 Series or possibly an 6 Series replacement.
The concept shows the classic features of all BMW coupes: the long wheelbase, vaulted hood with forward-pointing lines, the set-back greenhouse, the flat silhouette, the coupe-style roofline and short front overhang. BMW claims the Concept Gran Coupe combines the exclusivity of a grand tourer with the performance of a sports car. The design of the concept offers a distinctive sporty character with space for more than two occupants.
The flat and coupe-like proportions have stretched the length of the vehicle to almost 5 meters (16.4ft), which is claimed to give outstanding aerodynamics, while the low centre of gravity reflects a driving agility. The front section is defined by the characteristic kidney grille, which now has a flat appearance. It's flanked by LED lights, while air inlet are set far apart to emphasize the car's width.
The flat silhouette means the concept sits just 1.4 meters high (4.6ft). This makes it 4" lower than the 5 or 7 Series. The roof tapers off gently into the rear, elongating the proportions. While the forward-tilted shark-nose visually extends the hood and creates characteristic BMW proportions.
Another BMW icon, the Hofmeister kink, is formed by frameless doors that also give the glass a seamlessly surface.
The rear appears slimmer at the center. The L-shaped lights feature a subtle curve and the entire design is again designed to highlight the vehicle's width. The wheel spokes extend into the center of the wheel, giving the design a three-dimensional quality. The spokes themselves are relief-milled, giving them a visual lightness.
Drivetrain options for the concept weren't discussed, but you could expect BMW's twin-turbo V8 and hybrid options by the time the car reaches production.