It was in with the new car and out with the old designer. Unveiling the Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo was the last ‘performance’ of BMW’s design chief Chris Bangle.
The 52-year-old Bangle announced he’ll be leaving his employer of 17 years at the end of this month, though his successor, Adrian van Hooydonk, is already at the helm as BMW’s global design chief.
“I am not here to talk about myself, but to talk about the car,” said Bangle, who was filling in for van Hooydonk, who was living up to an old appointment he had in New York. And what Bangle revealed, was that the Concept 5 is a thinly-disguised version of the 5 Series Gran Turismo, that will bow at the IAA in Frankfurt in September – and go into production soon after.
With the Gran Turismo, BMW is targeting upscale customers, who have grown out of minivans and SUVs and are looking for an elegant alternative with lots of room and a high degree of practicality. BMW even designates the GT – known internally as the Progressive Activity Sedan – a car to create a new niche.