With so many models on offer these days and more to come in the future, you’d think that BMW has nowhere to expand anymore. I mean, how many niches can you invent?
Besides Smart -like city cars and pickup trucks , the Munich-based company covered just about everything so far. While trucks are definitely a "no-no", we wouldn’t be surprised is BMW rolls out three-cylinder-engined city car sometime in the future.
Meanwhile, it appears that the Germans are looking to expand their lineup in the opposite direction. As we’ve previously reported, BMW is about to get bigger at the Beijing Auto Show , where a concept car is set to preview the company’s upcoming 9 Series sedan.
It might seem like a crazy idea for BMW to launch a direct competitor to the Rolls-Royce Ghost . However the 9 Series is likely to open new market opportunities for the manufacturer, who’s obviously looking to give the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman a run for its money using a less audacious marque.
Expected to arrive sometime in 2016, the 9 Series will be underpinned by BMW’s new, lightweight G11 modular platform, which was initially developed for the next-generation 7 Series . Stretching it a bit for that mandatory extra room in the back won’t be a problem, as the Germans have plenty of experience with their previous elongated 7 Series sedans.
Design-wise, the new flagship will receive a number of styling features seen on the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept, but a few cues borrowed from the 7 Series are also in the books.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW 9 Series.
To better illustrate what the 9 Series will be about on the outside, we created a rendering that puts together all of the aforementioned details.
The front end received most of the Gran Lusso-inspired details, including the prominent twin kidney grille and headlamps. The grille has been slightly trimmed down for a plausible production look, while the headlamps have been widened updated to BMW’s new design language.
The front bumper, also sourced from the Pininfarina study, was shaped into production form and fitted with chrome trims and fog lamps similar to those seen on the brand new Active Tourer .
The side profile of the extra-long-wheelbase 9 Series is expected to look sleek and sloped toward the rear due to a lowered bonnet height and a decreased glasshouse area. The traditional side outlet seen on both the Gran Lusso and the 7 Series is likely to find its way on the flagship vehicle as well.
The Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman is likely the main reason why BMW finally decided to build something bigger than the 7 Series. Based on the new-generation S-Class, the S600 Pullman is bolted on an extra-long-wheelbase and serves as a replacement for the ultra-luxurious Maybach 57 , which was axed last year due to poor sales.
The Pullman will be up to 12 inches longer than the regular S-Class, but, although it will look similar to the standard model on the outside, it will carry extra luxury and convenience features inside. Le significantly longer rear doors will grant easier access to a passenger area that will offer comfortable seating for four.
This land yacht is expected to carry a twin-turbocharged, 5.5-liter, V-12 engine rated at about 600 horsepower under the hood, but a plug-in hybrid version is also rumored. Pricing will be set anywhere between $270,000 and $340,000. Not exactly cheap, but, mind you, the Maybach 57 was retired with a $379,000 sticker.
Once launched, the BMW 9 Series will also compete against the Bentley Flying Spur, a vehicle usually challenged by the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Visually updated for the 2014 model year, the Flying Spur got a mild front end update and a pair of brand new taillights at the rear. The sedan is likely to remain unchanged until the 9 Series goes on sale.
Powering the Bentley Flying Spur is a turbocharged, 6.0-liter, W-12 unit that sends 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque to the wheels. The British flagship needs only 4.3 seconds to sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour, a benchmark that BMW will find hard to break. The Flying Spur’s interior is as luxurious as it gets, with hand-upholstered leather seats, high-quality surfaces with up to five layers of clear lacquer, new-generation technology and generous legroom.
The 2014 Flying Spur begins at $205,825, but pricing is set to take off with the vehicle’s extensive options list.