Living up to the promise seen in previously released teaser images, the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe has made its much-anticipated debut as promised at Italy's famed Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. The stunning V12-powered one-off represents the first collaborative effort between the German automaker and one of Italy's most preeminent design houses whose name is most closely connected to Ferrari.

"The appeal of this collaboration with Pininfarina is that you get another, very different and special angle on facets like luxury and exclusivity," noted Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design. "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. In Pininfarina we have found the ideal partner to lend shape to this vehicle concept."

Fabio Filippini, Head of Design at Pininfarina, echoed that sentiment, observing: "The result of this cooperative venture is far greater than the sum of its parts. When two such tradition-rich and experienced brands join forces to turn a vision into reality, something utterly new and exciting emerges. From start to finish, this project was defined by a mutual respect for the identity of the other company."

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To that end, the striking bodywork of the Gran Lusso Coupe deftly melds classic BMW heritage cues with an elegant Pininfarina sensibility. Its long nose, short deck, strong shoulder line and sweeping roof create a striking profile that's set off by prominent side-body detailing punctuated by an Air Breather behind the front wheel, custom 21-inch alloy wheels and the signature Hofmeister kink at the leading edge of the C-pillar. A similar kind of subtle but unmistakable power is evident in the Gran Lusso Coupe's fascia treatments. Up front, the twin-kidney grilles are canted forward to emphasize the car's more aggressive character, while slim-line LED headlamps and a single-opening air intake split by a horizontal accent bar help accentuate its low, wide look. That theme carries to the rear, where delicately proportioned wraparound LED tail lamps and prominent dual-paired exhaust outlets complement the equally sleek tail.

The 4-passenger cabin of the Gran Lusso Coupe reflects another meeting of creative minds. While remaining true to BMW's fundamental driver-focus priorities, it's equally rich in Pininfarina influences that range from custom-designed seats and door panels clad in premium leather from Foglizzo to wood accent trim made from a single piece of super-rare kauri, sourced from primo furniture makers Riva 1920 and officially carbon dated as being 48,000 years old.

While BMW offered few drivetrain specifics, the V12 engine in the Gran Lusso Coupe Concept is believed to be the same twin-turbo 6.0-liter unit that produces 535 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque in the 2013 BMW 760Li. As in the automaker's flagship sedan, it sends power to the rear wheels via a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission.

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The key question that remains about this brilliantly executed exercise is whether it will serve as the precursor to a new production model. If so, it would effectively replace the striking BMW 8 Series, a vehicle that was built in modest numbers from 1989-1999, as the automaker's top-line coupe offering. While optimists can take some comfort in the official statement that the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe Concept is "a new automotive personality brimming with character and ready to join the high-end luxury class," for the moment there's no guarantee a volume-build variant will come rolling down the assembly line any time soon.


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