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BMW adds Italian flair to Gran Lusso

Gran designs: BMW insists the Pinifarina Gran Lusso coupe concept is a one-off, but it could be taken as an early signal of a return to the 8 Series nameplate.

Pininfarina and BMW-produced Gran Lusso concept points to future sports flagship


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27 May 2013

BMW has followed up last week’s teaser image with more details about its Pininfarina collaboration, the Gran Lusso Coupe, that points to a possible resurrection of the 8 Series.

A joint project with the famed Italian design house, the Gran Lusso Coupe features a long bonnet leading to a shark-like nose and a larger version of BMW’s signature kidney grille, with BMW saying the size points to the power of the V12 engine behind it.

The striking design concept was shown at Italy’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este vintage car show last week, and is widely speculated to be a spiritual successor to the 8 Series grand tourer that BMW sold from 1990 to 1999.

Mercedes-Benz is set to reveal its all-new S-Class based coupe range soon, to which BMW has no natural rival. The current flagship 6 Series is based on the smaller 5 Series, after all.

Should the Gran Lusso Coupe make the transition from design concept to production reality, it would give the German car-maker a flagship sports model to sit above the 6 Series and would serve to make life harder for Mercedes in the high-end sports segment.

BMW head of design Karim Habib said that Pininfarina was the ideal partner for the design of the Gran Lusso concept.

“The appeal of this collaboration with Pininfarina is that you get another, very different and special angle on facets like luxury and exclusivity,” he said.

“The Italian company, after all, has always been a byword for these criteria in particular, demonstrating time and again its keen sensitivity and exceptional finesse in these areas.”

The Gran Lusso’s head-lights maintain BMW’s twin circular look, but are cut off at the top, giving the front end a sharper edge.

A high shoulder line runs along the length of the car before arriving at the rear that features a slim-line tail-light design that runs across the rear of the car.

Massive 21-inch wheels hint at the sleek coupe’s performance credentials, as does the V12 badge on the upper shoulder, and while no drivetrain details have been released, the V12 under the bonnet is likely to be a version of the 6.0-litre, 400kW unit from the 760Li saloon.

The cabin of the Gran Lusso houses a dash design that is in tune with current BMW product, albeit with the usual luxury touches taken up a notch or two.

BMW has sourced rare Kauri timber from New Zealand that the company says has aged “more than 48,000 years,” fine black and brown Italian leather for the upholstery and Italian “Virgin” wool for the roof lining.

LED interior lights, deep-pile carpets and black chrome metal highlights all add to the ambience of the cabin.

While there is a chance the Gran Lusso could remain a one-off concept like the Zagato Coupe and Convertible that surfaced last year, BMW fans will be hoping for a resurrection of the 8 Series name should it go into production.

BMW’s current range-topping sports model is the M6 which is available in three body styles – coupe, convertible and four-door Gran Coupe.

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