BMW was set to preview a range-topping 9-series sedan at the Beijing auto show last weekend in the guise of its Vision Future Luxury concept car.
The concept is nearly a foot longer than the extended-wheelbase version of the current 7 series. The 9 series, expected in 2016, will compete with the Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach due late this year.
BMW did not release technical specifications for the concept in advance of the Beijing debut, but brand design director Karim Habib told Automotive News Europe that it is about 216.5 inches long, compared with 205 inches for the long-wheelbase 7 series.
Group design director Adrian van Hooydonk said the Vision Future Luxury hints at future direction but is not a production-ready model.
Among the concept's most striking features are carbon fiber bars that serve as B-pillars, connecting the front and rear windows when the doors close. But below the beltline, the B-pillars morph into a carbon fiber seat frame that is integrated into the load-bearing structure.