The Rise Of 'Boomer' Coupes - Honda's Accord Crosstour and BMW's 550i GT

November 15, 2009
One of the highlights of trucks and SUVs is a high hip point (known as the 'H' point in design parlance). The height of the seat makes it easier for driver and passenger to enter and exit (with the exception of some truly stilted 4x4s). That elevated 'H' point will be driving sales of cars to aging baby boomers in the years to come (possibly another 15 years worth). But boomers still have an eye for style and because of that, minivans, trucks and SUVs won't make the cut. Enter the tall four door coupe.

Mercedes-Benz' CLS Coupe was a styling watershed. Here was a four door sedan with very pronounced two door styling. It worked (so much so that VW had no compunction copying the look in its curvaceous CC). But neither of these cars had the 'H' point that favors boomers' broken backs.

Enter two companies that tend to set trends, Honda and BMW. They are introducing a pair of 'Boomer' Coupes this year (look for GenX models to be driving them in ads though).

Honda is debuting the Accord Crosstour, a tall four-door coupe. It'll occupy the bottom rung on the 'Boomer' Coupe ladder (for the time being). Powered by a 271 HP 3.5L i-VTEC V6, with all the bells & whistles of the Accord EX it will be available in FWD EX/EX-L or AWD EX-L trim levels. With seating for five and enough amenities to coddle the occupants, the Accord Crosstour will get a head start on this segment from its mid-priced competitors. Pricing for the AWD EX-L starts at $34,020.

BMW is offering the much more upscale 550i GT. The 5 series designation is a bit of a misnomer however, it's built on the new 7 series platform (in BMW speak, the F01 chassis). With a unique two-way rear access, panoramic sunroof and most of the electronics options from the 7 series available, it will occupy the premium rung of the segment. While offered strictly in turbocharged V8 (407 hp) and RWD for the near future, after January look for AWD and the gasoline direct injected turbocharged in-line 6. (And can the in-line 6 diesel be far away?). Price for the 550i GT will be approximately twice that of the Honda Accord Crosstour.

 

Both vehicles are over 60 inches tall (the Accord Crosstour at 65", the 550i GT at 61"). Both utilize that height to ease entry and exit and provide a 'command' view of the road. They are biased to passenger comfort (regardless of the sportiness of the suspensions and drivetrains). And neither neglects the second seat to second class status.

Think of the 'Boomer' Coupe as the shape of things to come for affluent, aging aquarians.

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