Reports that the BMW Gran Coupe Concept was approved for production emerged just days after its Beijing Auto Show debut this April. Now the word on the street is that it will wear a 6-Series badge when it goes on sale in 2012.

The Concept CS-inspired Gran Coupe Concept should make a good fit within the 6-Series lineup. Its coupe-like lines and sporting proportions offer an alternative to the two-door model, while also allowing for more luxurious rear-seat treatment. The 6-Series name is also something of a matter of necessity: BMW has no other numeric space between the 5-Series and the 7-Series, and while the 8-Series name might have been possible, that name was reserved for BMW's flagship position during its ten-year run from 1989 to 1999.

Rather than a halo four-door coupe, however, the Gran Coupe is targeting the same market space as the 6-Series, but for those that would like more accessible rear seats. It's positioned to go heads-up with competition like the Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS, and the lower end of the Porsche Panamera spectrum.

It's not yet clear how the Gran Coupe's nameplate will be distinguished from the regular 6-Series coupe. Possibilities include adding a letter to the existing alphanumeric formula, or possibly tagging an appendage to the name, as done with the 5-Series GT.

In essence, the Gran Coupe/6-Series four-door coupe BMW hopes will combine the luxury and demeanor of the 7-Series, while delivering more sporting character and driving involvement. The similarities to the 7-Series will run more than skin deep, as well, with the car to be based on the same platform that underpins the current 5- and 7-Series cars, as well as the same powertrain components.