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BMW + Pininfarina? Gran Lusso Coupe wraps German engineering in Italian styling

In the car world, fastidious German and emotional Italian automakers are about as far apart as can be, but when they join forces, great things can happen.

BMW is taking the wraps off the Gran Lusso Coupe, its V12-powered grand touring tour de force with styling by celebrated Italian firm Pininfarina.

Pininfarina is known for making flashy concept cars like the Sergio from the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, and for shaping classic sports cars like the Cisitalia 202 and nearly every Ferrari built since 1951.

So what did Pininfarina come up with for BMW?

The brief for the Gran Lusso was to create a car that could take BMW into a new realm of exclusivity. A large, traditional two-door coupe, that has us thinking of the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class and Bentley Continental GT, is a good way to do that.

While it does sort of look like it’s been dropped on its roof, the Gran Lusso’s flattened profile gives it an elongated, sleek look. In profile, the canted front end brings the E12 5 Series to mind, although Pininfarina’s designers probably didn’t intend that.

Whether you like the Lusso’s flat shape or not, there’s no disputing that it is a BMW. Signature styling elements abound, including the twin kidney grille, “Hofmesiter kink” in the rear window, and a swooping line that begins at the strip of trim on the front fenders, tying the Gran Lusso to the production 6 Series.

BMW says the beady-eyed headlights are intently focused on the road, and they’re 100 percent LED. The equally elongated taillights are set in matte-sheen aluminum trim for extra dazzle.

The interior is a bit more conventional. The steering wheel, shifter, and resolutely horizontal dashboard all look similar to what one would find in a production BMW, although the company says all of the controls are slightly angle toward the driver.

BMW didn’t have much to say about what is underneath the Gran Lusso’s Italian clothing, other than that the engine is a V12. Presumably, it’s the 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged unit that produces 535 horsepower in the 760i sedan.

While a 7 Series-sized coupe like the Gran Lusso would be a logical addition to BMW’s lineup, this car is just a styling exercise. It will make its public debut at the 2013 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, but won’t ever debut in showrooms.

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