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BMW 4 series aesthetic foreshadowed at Frankfurt

John Law

BMW has revealed a new concept at the 2019 Frankfurt Autoshow. Dubbed the Concept 4 which the brand claims to be the “aesthetic essence of a modern BMW Coupé”. Design of the Concept 4 foreshadows the coming 4-series coupé to sit aside the G20 3 Series, with elements of contemporary and classic styling combine to create somewhat of a polarising design for the concept.

The Concept 4 emerges from a long history of BMW sports coupés, with the beautifully sculpted 328 roadster and 3.0 CSi models specifically referenced as inspirations for the new concept.

A return to more old-school tall and conjoined kidney grilles is the most obvious departure from contemporary BMW styling. The glitzy chrome kidneys certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes, thankfully being a concept we can assume they will be toned down for the final design.

The front end otherwise has hints of the current crop of M cars. Much like the compact M2, the brawny and swollen guards and brake ducts give the Concept 4 a face like some kind of German military experiment.

The Concept 4 has a unique rear-end, departing from the softer design language of contemporary BMWs. Rounded edges give way to sharp industrial lines on the signature short rear deck, harking back to the angular looking E36 3-series coupé of the 90’s.

Looking at the profile, the Concept 4 is traditional BMW coupé fare, with a low-slung roof and long wheelbase. The generous length bonnet should leave plenty of space to accommodate a classic BMW straight-six.

We can expect to find a similar suite of engines currently available in the G20 3 series in the 4 series when it arrives in 2020. Expect a 420i turbo four-cylinder base model producing around 135kW, with a more powerful 430i turbo four-cylinder as the mid-spec producing 190kW matching the current G20 3-series line-up in Australia.

An M440i equipped with BMWs B58 turbocharged 250kW/500Nm three-litre straight-six is almost certain to feature as a range-topping model.

Of course, under the lengthy bonnet of the Concept 4 we can eventually expect to see BMW’s 380kW S58 twin-turbo three-litre straight-six – as found in current the X3M and X4M, and slated for the teased G80 M3 – in an M4 coupé.

There will likely be more focussed variants for the M4 too, with CS and potentially CSL models coming later in production. Like previous M4s and M3 coupes we can expect these competition specials to be pushing out more power, boasting lighter weight, with more focussed suspension, and probably some kind of Nurburgring lap time.

The design of the Concept 4 indicates BMW will continue to segregate the 3 series and 4 series further. We are likely to see further niches spawn from the Concept 4, with at least a convertible and four door grand touring version to arrive later on.

Although just a concept at the moment, the Concept 4 proves that BMW can still be on the money when it comes to designing sports coupés (even if the kidneys are getting a little bit ridiculous). We can’t wait to see the new 4-series join its G20 3-series cousin.