The S-Class has been superseded at the top of the Mercedes-Benz lineup by Mercedes-Maybach’s ultra-luxurious S600 and Pullman models. The same will happen to BMW’s 7 Series flagship when the Munich-based firm expands its lineup towards the top with at least one additional model.
“Just like certain competitors, we will see that we occupy with credible offers the price bracket of €150,000 (about $170,000) and beyond,” confirmed Klaus Froehlich, BMW’s development chief, in a recent interview with trade journal Automotive News.
Interestingly, Froehlich hinted that BMW’s upcoming range-topping sedan — which is tentatively called 9 Series — won’t simply be a stretched version of the 7. Adding a few extra inches of sheet metal between the 7’s axles would free up a generous amount of leg room for the rear passengers, but it would likely compromise the sharp handling that BMW has been associated with for decades.
Instead, the 9 Series will share its basic platform with the long-wheelbase version of the 7. England’s Car Magazine believes it will adopt a sleek, style-focused design that will fall in line with the Gran Coupe variants of the 4 Series and the 6 Series. Its cabin will be much more luxurious than that of the already posh 7, and it will be jam-packed with the latest electronic driving aids and connectivity features, including a gesture-controlled infotainment system.
BMW is downsizing many of its core engines, but don’t look for a turbo four under the 9 Series’ hood. Buyers will be asked to choose between a fuel-sipping plug-in hybrid drivetrain built around a straight-six engine and a compact electric motor, a twin-turbocharged V8, and a Rolls-Royce-derived V12 tuned to pump out 650 horsepower. Both rear- and all-wheel drive will be offered, and Car believes BMW executives are even debating whether to offer an all-electric variant of the 9.
The BMW 9 Series — assuming the nameplate is retained — will bow at a major car show in 2019. It will go on sale globally in early 2020 with a triple-digit base price.