BMW Design Head Karim Habib indicates that the collaboration is very much a case of each design firm fleshing out areas such as luxury and exclusivity that neither could accomplish alone. “[Pininfarina], 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.”
Pininfarina Head of Design Fabio Filippini agrees that the Gran Lusso is a much greater vehicle than either of the two firms could have designed on its own. “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.”
We’re inclined to agree. Not that recent BMW efforts have not been stunningly captivating, such as the BMW i8 we saw in New York and the new 4-Series Coupe, but the sheer brilliance of the Gran Lusso takes it from yet another luxury vehicle into the realm of pure fantasy.
Starting at the front end, the twin circular headlights and twin kidney grilles assure us that this is indeed a BMW—albeit of a different breed—with the front focal lines flowing across the hood as if defined by the life force of the 12 cylinders of power awaiting your command below. Physical embodiments of the Pininfarina brand are discreetly incorporated throughout the car’s sculpted, athletic silhouette, from the sporty front apron and single air intake to the wheel wells and the short tail. One must not overlook the dignified 21” wheels; the contrasting finishes of matte aluminum, black and black chrome give a strong sense of depth to these stunning works of art.
Pininfarina takes even more control on the interior of the four-seat Coupé, crafting a cabin worthy of royalty, with as many intricate design lines as possible throughout the doors, dashboard, seats and controls.
Tobacco-brown and black leather from Foglizzo wraps the deep seats, presided over by a wood dash and panels crafted from a single piece of New Zealand Kauri. This rare wood, preserved in swamps for thousands of years, is known for its warm, natural grain that dances from gold to brown to red; simply polished and oiled for the Gran Lusso, it makes a striking addition to the already fascinating interior.
While performance will rank more in line with the M6 and 6-series, the pure indulgence that is the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé is not one to be repeated often, as much as we might wish it would be. These special, one-of-a-kind gems remind us to appreciate unique art forms such as this for their individuality as well as inspire talented automotive designers of the future, reminding them that they have some serious sets of wheels to live up to.