If you want proof that the Mercedes-Benz CLS was an influential car, look no further than the new BMW 6-series Gran Coupe, unveiled at the weekend.
It's a four-door 6-series, based very closely on the Gran Coupe concept car shown in 2010.
The executive car market has changed a lot in recent years, and BMW is now chasing the same buyers as the Merc CLS, Audi A7 et al. Ironic, since the CLS was originally conceived as Daimler's 'Jag fighter'.
So the BMW 6-series Gran Coupe is a four-door version of the two-door version of the four-door 5-series?
Pretty much. But BMW is confident the figures stack up to make the business case work. Buyers now want to express themselves - so tying ourselves up in knots looking at the car's provenance isn't that helpful.
This is BMW's first four-door coupe, and joins the existing 6-series Coupe and Convertible. The wheelbase is stretched by 113mm over the Six Coupe to make more legroom for rear-seat passengers.
BMW actually describes the Gran Coupe as a 4+1 and talks up the practicality of this four-door. Its boot stacks up at 460 litres - quite respectable for a saloon - and swells to 1265 litres with the backrest flopped forwards.
Which engines does the new BMW 6-series Gran Coupe come with?
The usual spread of 6-series powerplants will be offered, although the diesel is likely to be even more popular in this four-door bodystyle:
• 640i 316bhp straight six petrol
• 650i 444bhp V8 petrol turbo
• 640d 309bhp straight six diesel
There's all the usual 5/6-series derived tech highlights: eight-speed transmissions, stop-start, dynamic adjustable dampers and so forth.
UK sales of the BMW 6-series Gran Coupe kick off in June 2012.