Coupé-like styling is one of the biggest buzzwords at new car launch parties. Although this is more of a modern phenomenon, the root of the seemingly contradictory four-door coupé is older than you might think.
In 1962, Rover dropped the rear roofline on its P5 sedan and dared to call it a four-door coupé. In 2004, Mercedes picked up on this idea with the CLS-class Coupe. It was only a matter of time before Audi and BMW joined the party with the A7 and 6-Series Gran Coupé.
Now, many of you may say we already have a name for the four-door coupé. It’s a sedan. I agree with you. Audi isn’t entirely convinced by the “coupé” designation either, and they only dare mention it twice in the 62-page brochure. This means the S7 is a $12,000 styling exercise atop a tasty and more practical S6.
Now turn your hymnals, as the great man once said, to Number Four, and we’ll sing two choruses of Withering Contempt.
What do you get when you add two doors to a 6-Series coupé? Last year the answer was: a 7-Series. Of course that was last year, now BMW has an all-new answer: the Gran Coupe. Of course, calling your latest sexy sedan a “coupé” is nothing new (Mercedes has done it since 2004), what is new is the process by which this “coupé” arrived. Normally manufacturers introduce a new sedan, then within a year they delete two doors, lop off some trunk, give it a sporty grille and launch it as a coupé and convertible. The 6-Series Gran Coupe (GC) on the other hand is what happens when you take a an expensive coupé and add doors. In BMW speak, this process created a four-door coupé. Confused yet? Allow me to explain: apparently all you have to do to create a coupé is remove the sashes from the windows. (This means that Subaru buyers have driven coupés all these years and didn’t know it.) Can the sexy 6-Series beat Mercedes at their own CLS game? Let’s find out.
While its German rivals pour into the burgeoning four-door premium coupe segment, BMW has been busy exploring the premium five-door GT segment. With its complement of GT variants complete, the Bavarians are making up for lost time with this Gran Coupe Concept, debuting at today’s Beijing Auto Show. Basically a lower, wider, more coupe-profiled 7-series, the Gran Coupe is clearly aimed at models like the Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte and especially the forthcoming Audi A7. And though it’s technically just a styling exercise, the Gran Coupe (or something like it) could be headed for production.When asked by Autocar about the Gran Coupe’s chances of launching a revival of the 8 Series nameplate, BMW Chief Designer Adrian van Hooydonk said:
I don’t think of this car as an 8-series, but our marketing department may think differently. Either way, their work is just beginning, and I know that often it can take longer than our design work!