BMW Gran Lusso $850K Coupe: A Pininfarina Collaboration

BMW, though not widely known for coach-built cars, has notable examples like the 3.0 CSL and Zagato Coupe. The BMW Gran Lusso Coupe Concept, a partnership with Pininfarina, debuted at the 2013 Concorso d’Eleganza and was set for limited production upon positive reception. However, this $850,000 luxury vehicle never reached its intended run of 200-300 units. More details are available in Steve Saxty’s book “BMW Behind the Scenes.”

From the outset, the Gran Lusso Coupe faced challenges. Pininfarina’s close ties with Ferrari meant needing Ferrari’s approval to display a second show car using Ferrari parts. Additionally, Pininfarina started conceptualizing and sketching the design before finalizing a contract with BMW. In Steve Saxty’s book, Fabio Filippini recounts a crucial meeting in Maranello with Luca di Montezemolo, where these elements converged.

Felix Kilbertus, the design team’s head for the Gran Lusso, fondly recalls crafting the celebrated coupe. He describes shaping the hood and fenders for a seamless, smooth look, with a motif in the side pillar extending the rear glass slightly backwards. This extension resulted in a distinctive Hofmeister Kink, marking the Pininfarina design as uniquely BMW. Joji Nagashima, a design giant known for the E39 5 Series, Z3, and E90 3 Series, also contributed insights. After their collaborative efforts, the team sent the Gran Lusso to Munich for approval.

Pininfarina and BMW needed a functional exhibition car. For this, Pininfarina required a BMW drivetrain, which BMW happily provided. They shipped a trimmed chassis with a V12 engine and running gear straight to Italy. The ultimate challenge was designing an interior that was unique yet unmistakably BMW. After significant effort and using some shortcuts from Saxty’s book, the car debuted at Villa d’Este, largely as planned. Regrettably, the BMW Gran Lusso’s journey would only extend so far.

At the time, many in the automotive press believed the Pininfarina design was the BMW 8 Series. A decade later, one look at its chic design can still persuade you of this misconception. The method of the front bumper and the overall dimensions closely mirror those of the production 8er Coupe. Today, the Gran Lusso remains in excellent condition, though we never could drive one.

Check Also

All things being equal: Driving the BMW U11 iX1 eDrive20 64.8kWh

We last drove the U11 X1 in its Category-A friendly iteration a little over a …