BMW is subtly changing its design direction in order to push into the upmarket luxury space. The German automaker recently launched the 8-Series coupe to rival established names like the Porsche 911 and Mercedes-AMG GT. As part of the brand’s expansion further into the high-end premium segment of the market, it intends to develop the 9-Series four-door coupé.
Adrian van Hooydonk hinted as much about the new coupé when he said: “Let’s say this: we won’t stop here [with the 8 Series]. Obviously, our job is to have more ideas than the company can build, because the other way round would be very bad. My team and I are now looking at 2021 and beyond – as far out as 2030. We have a lot of plans.”
BMW has been quietly researching the feasibility of launching a new range of high-end cars and has as such introduced a new design language to appeal to a more upmarket clientele. The 8-Series coupé is the first of the products to be developed from the new design ethos, with a four-door variant joining it in the dealerships by late 2019. Hooydonk said the launch of the 8-Series was just the start of a new chapter. “The coupé will always kickstart the next level in design. The same is true for this car”, he added. The BMW 8-Series shares its architecture with the 7-Series and will most probably lend the same to the forthcoming 9-Series.
The most glaring question in respect to BMW’s product onslaught is: What about the 7-Series? Until now, the 7-Series has been the pinnacle of BMW luxury, performance, and design, rivaling the Mercedes-Benz S-Class ably. But with Mercedes’ recent brilliant Maybach product positioning, the Munich-based automaker suddenly found its range-topping saloon to be obsolete. A major inspiration behind developing the 9-Series is the steadily declining sales it has experienced in China, which is currently one of the key markets for BMW’s growth. The Maybach cars have taken China by storm, which leads BMW to believe that buyers in the country would be interested in a large, four-door coupé. The new nameplate will also give the company some room to expand into the SUV and hybrid as well as electric range.
BMW has already trademarked every model name between i1 and i9, iX1 and iX9, and X1 and X9. The ‘i’ brand carries a design ethos that is widely accepted by BMW’s aficionados and customers alike, giving the brand freedom to push into an upmarket space with a bold new design that is quite unlike the current language. It will be interesting to see how BMW pulls off a bigger car than the upcoming 8-Series Gran Coupé.