Development work behind the scenes at BMW is clearly not slowing, with designers and engineers rumoured to be working on a pair of very different, but potentially very lucrative new vehicles.
The first will act as a new flagship for the brand. Dubbed the 9 Series Gran Coupe, the super-sized four-door coupe will be positioned above the current 7 Series range-topper, giving a more style-focussed twist to the large limo.
Taking styling cues from the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept of 2013 (above) and the Vision Future Luxury Concept of 2014, the 9 Series Gran Coupe will blend the low roof of the Gran Lusso with the four-door layout of the Vision Future Luxury for easier passenger access.
Beneath the smooth styling the 9 Series will employ the long wheelbase 7 Series ‘Carbon Core’ platform.
Due to go on sale in 2020, around the same time as the 7 Series gets its mid-life makeover, or Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) in BMW’s terminology, the 9 Series will offer a choice of six-cylinder hybrid, twin turbo V8, and twin turbo V12 engines.
To help maintain a point of difference between the 9 Series and the (BMW-owned) Rolls Royce Ghost, the 9 Series is expected to be a sportier offering, with the possibility of a high-powered M9 model crowning the line-up
Sales forecasts for the 9 Series will be set low, with a high level of exclusivity helping to justify the 9 Series’ price premium over an equivalent 7 Series. Target markets for the new flagship include the Middle East and China, however the new model will be sold to wider markets globally.
A New i Addition In The Works
Another 2020 debut from BMW, at the more modest end of the scale, will be an electric sedan, roughly the same size as the current 3 Series, called the i6.
While the name isn’t set in stone (BMW is still to show its i5 which is expected to be a larger vehicle) the powertrain direction for the i6 appears to have been decided.
Unlike the compact i3, which comes with a choice of electric or range-extending plug-in hybrid powertrains, the i6 is expected to arrive as a pure electric vehicle, debuting a new ‘flat floor’ EV platform that will form the basis for future electric-only i vehicles.
Carbon fibre will feature heavily in the construction of the i6, with BMW furthering its development of low cost carbon-fibre production methods, keeping the total production cost of the i6 down.
Engine specifications are as yet unclear, but it is likely that either two or four electric motors will propel the i6.
Charge for the motors will likely be stored in an all-new lithium-polymer battery pack, with the potential to store three times as much energy as the i3’s lithium-ion battery but with a production cost of around half the price.
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