While Mercedes-Benz offers a handful of models positioned above its signature S-Class sedan, BMW doesn’t have a response for any of these, unless you count the unconventional, eco-focused i8. That means if you want the biggest and baddest BMW you’re going to have to opt for a 7-Series, which, as the automaker is discovering, just doesn’t cut in the world of ultry-luxury.

With BMW finally confirming the long-overdue X7 for the full-size luxury SUV segment last month, it appears the next hole in its lineup BMW is keen to plug is that of a proper flagship. According to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, BMW will present a new concept at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show on April 20 that previews a potential 9-Series.

The use of an odd number for the name suggests that the 9-Series concept will be a large and luxurious sedan, likely aimed at China’s chauffeur-driven set. The vehicle will reportedly ride on a lightweight modular platform that will underpin most of BMW’s models going forward, including those of Rolls-Royce. It is also said to showcase BMW’s new interior design and tech features.

The 9-Series concept will use the largest iteration of the modular platform, the one that will be used for the replacement for the Rolls-Royce Phantom in 2016. If the 9-Series concept proves popular, we may see it developed alongside the Phantom replacement. Thus, the Rolls-Royce could be targeted at traditional luxury buyers while the 9-Series could capture those seeking something with sportier and more modern styling.

We got a taste of what a new BMW flagship could be like with the unveiling of the Gran Lusso Coupe concept in 2013. Developed together with Pininfarina, the Gran Lusso Coupe marked the start of a partnership between BMW and the Italian styling house as well as hinting at the new look future BMWs may take.

Stay tuned for an update.


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