The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe

Imagine if BMW were to upstage the Bentley Continental. They'd need to build a proud, stately 12-cylinder coupe with cabin so lush you'd never want to leave.

Well, it's just occurred. Unfortunately it's only a one-off, but we can dream. And it's nice to see it has happened by putting BMW designers into co-operationwith one of the greatest historical coachbuilding names of all, Pininfarina.

Step forward the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe.

Under the hood is BMW's mighty twin-turbo V12, and the shape has been created to highlight the power within. The bold kidney grille and flat-toppped headlights give it an aggressive, sharky aspect. Along the sides, a deep scallop flicks upwards to lighten the back end.

The details are just gorgeous. The grille, lights, wheels and handles all use combinations of finishes and materials, imbuing an extra sense of depth and craft.

Just to prove it's a one-off, the interior wood is actually fossilised material rescued from ancient New Zealand swampland. It's very beautiful, with a shifting from red to brown according to how the light strikes it. It even comes with its own carbon-14 dating certificate, saying it's more than 48,000 years old. Hardly a renewable resource, then, unless you're very patient.

The Gran Lusso has been created to ascend the catwalk at one of the most glittering automotive beauty pageants of the year, the Villa D'Este concours. This weekend on the shore of Lake Como in Italy is an overdose of one-off concepts and priceless historics, poured over by the world's best-dressed and moneyed car enthusiasts and socialites. Which rules us out.

OK, enough of the designer mumbo-jumbo, time to click through to the photo gallery.

Wiped the drool from your computer?