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 |  Apr 23 2010, 11:01 AM

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BMW chose the Beijing Auto Show as the venue to unveil its new Concept Gran Coupe – which by all accounts appears to be a near-production rival to the Porsche Panamera. Using BMW’s coupe-like stylings to design a 4-door, this new concept isn’t nearly as dramatic as the Concept CS, which debuted back in 2007. In fact, it looks more like the current 6 Series stretched into a sedan.

The aim with this concept, says BMW, is to show that the brand is capable of building a high-performance vehicle with space for more than just two people. The length of the concept is roughly 196.4-inches, about 4-inches longer than the current 5 Series. It’s also lower than the 5 Series by roughly two inches at just 55-inches, giving it a low center of gravity.

BMW won’t specifically say anything about sending the Gran Coupe from concept to production, but judging from the production-ready look, we’d say it will be in dealerships sooner than you’d expect. Plus, it’s not hard to read between the lines when BMW’s press releases sates quite clearly that the Concept Gran Coupe was designed to, “illustrate the aspiration of the brand BMW to build 4-door high-performance coupes with the sportiest proportions and the most elegant design.”

As more production details leak out, we’re eager to see if BMW really intends to take on the Panamera or if the Gran Coupe is more of a Mercedes CLS fighter.

GALLERY: BMW Concept Gran Coupe

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Official release after the jump:

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