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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