The current-generation BMW 7 Series may have only launched less than a year ago, but the company is already planning a coupe version in the hope to boost slow sales, a new report says.
According to an article by US’s Bloomberg, the new 7 Series hasn’t been as big a hit as BMW would have liked, with global sales falling roughly 40 per cent behind the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In 2012, the two were almost on par.
In order to change that, BMW is reportedly working on a coupe version of its flagship sedan, likely to surface around 2019.
The new sporty two-door version of the 7 Series will be the first of the several new variants BMW is understood to be considering at the moment.
It’s unknown, however, if the 7 Series coupe will revive the 8 Series nameplate - which has been reported to be in the works for a 2020 launch. If it is to follow the path of its arch-rival, the S-Class, BMW may choose to retain the ‘7’ badge on the boot lid. But, with the 1 and 3 Series coupes adopting '2' and '4' badges, a coupe companion to the 7 could just as easily step up to an 8.
In March, BMW reportedly applied to trademark several 8 Series-related names, including 825, 830, 835, 845, 850, 860 and M850.
Another possible addition to BMW’s flagship model line could be an uber-luxe variant - potentially even more upmarket than the recently-revealed M760Li xDrive (above) - that will serve as the company’s Mercedes-Maybach rival.
Bloomberg cites an unnamed source “familiar with BMW’s plan”, who was not identified as the plans aren’t yet public.
Flagship models generate high profit margins and showcase the latest technologies, hence why the sales of the 7 Series and S-Class are so important to their respective brands.
According to figures quoted in the report, the profit margin for the 7 Series last year saw an estimated 11 per cent return, above the 9.2 percent return seen across the wider BMW automotive division.
The imminent arrival of the next-generation Audi A8, expected to boast level-three autonomous driving technology, won’t do the 7 Series any favours either.
The Society of Automotive Engineers says level three vehicles are able to monitor their driving environments, steer, accelerate and decelerate by themselves. Unlike the semi-autonomous systems currently available on the S-Class and Tesla Model S, the A8 won’t require the driver’s hands to be on the wheel. (Although legislation may say otherwise.)
If this is the case, the 7 Series will need a major drawcard to separate it from its technologically-advanced rivals - perhaps an all-out two-door performance flagship to reinstate its 'ultimate driver's car' branding.