So this, a lowered BMW X6, is Chris Bangle's latest, greatest, and final creation. Where is the media firestorm this time?
Bangle, the company's now-departed design chief, has been responsible for the most controversial cars in BMW's history, and despite the criticism, his work has helped sell more BMWs than ever.
His signature "surface flames" and infamous "Bangle butts" have turned every BMW product launch since the 2002 7 Series into a group session of electroshock therapy. Aside from Infiniti's wild FX, mainstream production cars haven't gotten much livelier than a new BMW.
But Bangle's 5 Series Gran Turismo concept looks very tame - and dare we say it - unoriginal, if only because the Z4, 6 Series, 5 Series, and X6 have completely desensitized the auto show crowd. We've seen the big nostrils before, and the body creases and flat, puffy rear ends.
The only bit of surprise comes from the marketing department, which never fails at adding new entries to the dictionary of useless automotive acronyms. Instead of admitting what the 5 Series Gran Turismo really is - a crossover, inflated station wagon, or Chrysler Pacifica clone - BMW has proclaimed it the world's first "Progressive Activity Sedan." According to the press release, that means it "combines the looks and appearance of a sporty BMW Sedan, a modern Sports Activity Vehicle, and a classic Gran Turismo."
Buyers still call the "Sport Activity Vehicle" X5 a plain-old sporty SUV, and still are figuring out what the "Sport Activity Coupe" X6 actually is. When the 5 Series PAS debuts in Geneva next month, Chris won't be there to explain.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee