BMW has provided us with an insight into its design philosophy and future model plans by revealing an elegant new 4-door coupe at the Beijing auto show. The BMW Concept Gran Coupé is said to represent the essence of BMW’s brand values and showcases the design language for future BMW vehicles. The concept shows the classic features of all BMW coupes: the long wheelbase, the vaulted bonnet with forward-pointing lines, the flat silhouette, the coupe-style roof line and the short front overhang and is clearly set to compete directly with Mercedes’ trend-setting CLS.
The body stretching almost 5 metres in length, clothes a car with a low centre of gravity and outstanding aerodynamic efficiency. The sporty, flat silhouette provides an impressive body height of just under 1.40 metres, which makes the BMW Concept Gran Coupé almost 10 centimetres lower than the BMW 5 Series or the BMW 7 Series Saloons.
The roof line tapers off gently into the rear, elongating the vehicle’s proportions, whilst the forward-tilted shark nose visually extends the bonnet and creates the characteristic BMW proportion with its forward-pointing dynamic stance. This stretched character is also highlighted by the side lines, where there is a deliberate avoidance of the typical sill line. The flat proportions make the window graphics appear extremely narrow and dynamic at the same time. Another BMW design icon, the Hofmeister kink, is especially strikingly formed – additionally emphasising the exclusive character of the vehicle. The frameless doors give the BMW Concept Gran Coupé a modern character since the glass surfaces appear to merge seamlessly without being interrupted by columns.
At the rear, only design elements such as the lights and tailpipe trim appear to be visible at first sight. The entire rear section appears slimmer and lighter at the centre, though still exuding power and dynamic performance since the volume is reinforced towards the sides. The L-shaped light banks feature a slight, almost subtle curve and the entire design of the lines and surfaces highlights the vehicle’s elegant overall appearance. The third brake light, positioned in the rear window, is also fitted with LED technology. It takes up the kink in the roof and illuminates the entire width of the rear window. The powerfully flared wheel arches above the rear axle highlight the particularly sporty character of the BMW Concept Gran Coupé.
Another highly sporty but elegant feature is the rim concept in which the individual spokes extend deep into the centre of the rim towards the hub, giving the rim a striking three-dimensional quality. The spokes themselves are not solid but relief-milled, giving them a visual lightness.
The sculptural shaping style characteristic of the entire body design of the BMW Concept Gran Coupé permits a unique interaction between concave and convex surfaces. It also enables the light to be selectively reflected and channelled. Thus the exterior mirrors integrated in the window shaft appear very light, blending harmoniously into the side view of the car.
Unlike BMW’s Concept CS revealed in 2007 we expect to see this new Concept Gran Coupé appearing in a BMW showroom sometime in the near future. The car on show at Beijing is a rolling-concept, so therefore no mention has been made of engines or powertrains which will likely be inherited from those available in the 5-Series at the time of launch.