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The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé unleashed

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The German car maker and Italian design studio come together to create what could well be the ultimate GT car.

The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé combines all of the engineering know-how and driver-focused technology that has made BMW the company it is today with the design excellence that has made Pininfarina Ferrari’s designer of choice for over 50 years. The only disappointing thing about the end result is that, for now at least, it is simply a concept.

A long wheelbase two-door, four-seat coupe with a low roofline and a huge V12 engine, the Gran Lusso manages to retain all of the physical design cues and indicators of the current BMW range while at the same time offering something entirely new -- a vehicle that could conceivably compete head to head with a Bentley Continental GT or Porsche Panamera in terms of comfort, performance and looks.

No performance figures have been released regarding the engine’s output or top speed, but the way that the controls ‘wrap’ around the driver’s seat suggests that if the car did go into production, it would be more than a little sprightly.

As well as a driver-focused console, the cabin benefits from the best wood, leather and wool that money can buy -- for example, the use of 48,000-year-old Kauri wood, which is sourced from fossilized swamps in New Zealand and which can be cut and polished like fresh timber. Its natural grain has an iridescent quality, meaning that the wood appears to change color as light hits it at different angles. The entire cabin is finished from a single piece of Kauri wood to ensure the grain, grade and color are a prefect match.

Added to the fossilized wood is Foglizzo leather in tobacco and black adorning the four seats and an embroidered roof liner of the finest virgin Italian wool.

BMW has not had the best of luck when it comes to partnering with Italian companies. When it set out to create its first supercar, the M1, it approached Lamborghini to help with its development and construction. Lamborghini subsequently went bankrupt and all of the equipment, completed parts and designs related to the M1 were deemed assets and seized by the Italian courts.

However its first joint venture with Pininfarina can be considered a resounding success and one that all car fans will no doubt hope continues.ch/kc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/tourism/130527/the-bmw-pininfarina-gran-lusso-coupe-unleashed