BMW’s Gran Lusso Concept is a Gorgeous, Modern 8 Series
Photos from BMW
For some reason that completely disagrees with my normal preference for all cars sporting, I really have an odd attachment for large luxury coupes. The Mercedes SEC is one of the best non-supercar designs of the 1980s, and I’ll be damned if anyone convinces me otherwise. The sharklike E24 6 Series that was produced around the same time is sexy as hell, and my affection for the BMW 8 Series has already been noted. BMW’s Gran Lusso Coupe concept, then, produced feelings of unreasonable admiration from me, mostly due to Pininfarina’s seductive sheetmetal.
The concept makes the 6 Series look like plebeian garbage, even though the GLC looks more like a Jaguar than a BMW in the back half, while the front end is impossibly long (a V12 has to fit somewhere, right?). Disregarding the side scoops clearly cribbed from a Nissan GTR, the body is gorgeous, and Automotive News reports that the car’s production is currently being considered by the head honchos at BMW. With only a few players in the segment (the Mercedes CL and Bentley Continental GT are its most direct opposition, with the Rolls-Royce Wraith considerably more expensive), BMW could send in its grand tourer without much competition and create a direct successor to the 8 Series at the same time. Based on the existing 7 Series and with similar engine options, it would create a halo car for the brand in a very cost-effective way.
The Mercedes CL and Bentley Continental GT are effectively just two-door versions of high end sedans; this was never more apparent than in the first generation CL, the W140. While both the Merc and Bentley have changed over the years, both bear an exceptional likeness to their four-door counterparts. It is immediately apparent that the Gran Lusso Coupe is different, in that its design does not recall the related 7 Series in any way. While the 6 Series shares some design elements with the 5 Series it is based on, the GLC is distinguished and unique. Handing the design duties to Pininfarina let them take the concept in a much different direction than BMW’s in house team would have done.
It’s not just the exterior that gets some fancy curves, however. The interior is opulent and extravagent, with materials that would make Rolls-Royce jealous. Driver and passengers sit in high-quality leather, and the wood trim that typically outlines the perimeter on luxury cars is 48,000 year-old kauri wood from New Zealand; wool composes the headliner. The glossy center stack and standard BMW remote control shifter looks extremely out of place in such a unique cockpit, the only indication of the GLC’s roots from the inside.
If BMW were ever to create the GLC, the high quality interior of the concept would make the car unable to compete with the Bentley and V12 CL from a price standpoint. Both of those cars have rich interior appointments, but the GLC is of a higher caliber, glossy modern BMW bits notwithstanding. A production GLC would have to adopt a more normal 7 Series inside, but the coupe’s striking body could stay the same. BMW has more than enough room in its stable for another car on the top end, and it has greenlit automobiles with far worse sales outlooks in its recent past.