BMW's Luxurious & Advanced 9-Series Might Be A Maybach Fighter in 2017

BMW may own Rolls-Royce but that hasn't stopped the German automaker from mulling a BMW-branded response to Daimler's revived Maybach marque. Sporting “suicide doors” like its luxurious Rolls-Royce cousins, the proposed 9-Series is a bigger, better and more technologically advanced Bimmer on multiple levels.

The Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach, recently launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show, seems to have struck a nerve at BMW. Not that the latter have been resting on their laurels, mind you: the Vision Future Luxury Concept car displayed at last year's Beijing Auto Show offered “a long-term outlook on the perception of modern luxury for the brand,” according to BMW Group design director Adrian van Hooydonk.

The revival of Maybach, however, may have concentrated more than a few minds at BMW and a possible response – the rumored 9-Series – could be ready to roll by the 2017 model year. Daimler may have a head start but BMW has the luxury, so to speak, of having a benchmark to match... and perhaps surpass.

Since size does matter to luxury car buyers, and if the VFL can be considered a prototype for the 9-Series than we can likely expect the biggest Bimmer yet. Estimates predict a length of roughly 5500mm (216 inches) from stem to stern, which is about 280mm (11 inches) longer than the current long-wheelbase 7 series. Speaking of stems and sterns, the former may feature laser headlights while innovative OLED taillights bring up the rear.

It's also likely the 9-Series sedans will retain the “suicide doors” seen on the VFL. A signature feature of Rolls-Royce's sleek and stylish Ghost series sedans, the format as shown by the VFL employs lightweight carbon-fiber B-pillars that morph into carbon fiber seat frames that are part of the vehicle's load-bearing structure. Don't expect this complicated and costly feature on production 9-Series cares, however – luxury does have its limits after all.

If BMW does plan to launch its 9-Series Maybach-fighter for the 2017 model year, production lead times necessitate the groundwork being laid sometime this year. Look for a formal announcement on the 9-Series to be made sometime after May 1st, 2015, when Harald Krueger gets behind the wheel as BMW's new CEO. (via World Car Fans and BMW Blog)