The BMW 7 Series has gone head-to-head against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class for decades, but the Munich-based automaker has never built a true competitor for the S-Class Coupe, which was known as the CL-Class up until recently. That might change soon, as a new report coming out of Germany claims BMW executives have finally decided to build a range-topping coupe.
Tentatively called 9 Series, the coupe will ride on a modified version of the platform that’s currently being developed to underpin the next Rolls-Royce Phantom. It will be every bit as large as it sounds, but its weight will be kept in check thanks to the use of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, ultra-high-tensile steel, and aluminum.
The 9’s design will allegedly be inspired by the elegant Vision Future Luxury Concept (pictured) that was presented last year at the Beijing Motor Show and, to a lesser extent, by the recently-introduced 2016 7. Surprisingly, enthusiast website BMW Blog believes the flagship might even be fitted with suicide doors, a design cue borrowed from its Rolls-Royce sibling.
Inside, the 9 will benefit from all of the tech and luxury features ushered in by the new 7. That means it will boast a gesture-controlled infotainment system, heated armrests in the door panels and in the center console, as well as BMW’s remote-controlled parking technology.
The 9 Series will borrow the bulk of its mechanical components from the 7. That means buyers will be asked to choose between two 3.0-liter straight-six engines, a gasoline-burning mill, and a diesel-powered unit. Mid-range models will be powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, and a powerful V12 will round out the lineup.
A gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid model tentatively called 940e will be introduced a little later in the production run. It will be sold in the United States alongside the twelve- and the eight-cylinder engines, but the sixes are expected to remain on the other side of the Atlantic.
Rumors of a range-topping BMW coupe have been circulating around the auto industry for years without ever materializing. Company officials haven’t commented on the report, so only time will tell whether it’s finally coming true this time. The next Phantom is due out next year, meaning the 9 could arrive as early as 2017.