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BMW confirms new 4-Series coupe

Lightly veiled concept set for Detroit reveal -- and it's going to be more expensive.

By AutoWeek Dec 7, 2012 10:05AM

BMW Concept 4 Series Coupe (© BMW Group)




BMW will replace the 3-Series coupe with a dedicated two-door, called the 4-Series, that's set to be unveiled in concept guise at the Detroit Auto Show.


North American sales of the next-generation model get underway in late 2013.


"The 4-Series doesn't just mark the start of a new cycle; it marks the start of a model with its own individual character and a stand-alone design," says BMW. "It stands for greater sportiness, added exclusivity and even clearer differentiation from the 3-Series."


While described as a design study, the 4-Series coupe concept is understood to closely preview the look of the upcoming production version. Only detailed changes are expected, including less flamboyantly styled bumpers and the incorporation of more conventional exterior mirrors, door handles and tailpipes.


The future two-door is longer, wider and lower than the outgoing 3-Series coupe. It also rides on a larger chassis than the model it replaces, with the wheelbase extended by about two inches and the front and rear tracks increased as well. BMW hints this leads to improved interior packaging and greater levels of accommodation.


Despite aiming for a more individual look, BMW's designers have clearly taken inspiration from the latest 3-Series in creating the look of the 4-Series. The two cars share a similar front end, side lines and window graphic treatment. But with more acute screen angles, greater curvature to its roofline and a shorter trunk line, the two-door boasts a distinctly more sporting profile than its four-door sibling. The surfacing treatment also differs with greater contouring within the hood, added structure within the flanks and more defined shoulders.


BMW's design team also provided the car with a chrome decoration in the front wings. Insiders reveal the production car will feature some sort of adornment, although just how close it is to that of the concept car remains to be seen.


Developed under the internal codename F32, the 4-Series is based on the same high strength steel platform structure and uses the same aluminum intensive underpinnings as the latest 3-series sedan. Alongside standard rear-wheel drive models, BMW also plans to unleash selected all-wheel drive xDrive versions of the coupe.


BMW has not revealed the engine lineup.


Likely spearheading the 4-series coupe lineup will be an eagerly anticipated M3-replacing range-topping model planned to be unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Set to adopt the M4 nomenclature, BMW's new performance coupe is set to eschew the naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8 engine used today in favor of a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder powerplant.


Insiders suggest the iconic M3 name will continue to be used, but only on the sedan.


The interior of the 4-series coupe is heavily based on that of the 3-Series sedan. Apart from a liberal covering of leather featured on the concept car, the instrument binnacle, upper dashboard mold, center console, infotainment monitor and switchgear all appear to have been carried over virtually unchanged.


The move to adopt the 4-Series name follows BMW's earlier decision to resurrect the 6-Series in 2003 after a lengthy hiatus. Now in its third generation, the 6-Series supports three different models: coupe, convertible and GranCoupe.


In a move mirroring that of its larger sibling, 4-series is planned to grow to include the coupe and a convertible and four-door GranCoupe.


While an official sales date for the 4-series coupe is yet to be announced, BMW says North American deliveries won't get underway for almost a year, suggesting it will reach dealer showrooms as a 2014 model. The definitive production version of the new car is tipped to make an appearance at the Geneva auto show next March.


-- Greg Kable


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Dec 7, 2012 8:51PM
So does this mean the next M3 Coupe will be a M4 instead? What about the M3 convertible? Will BMW make a sedan version and call it the M3 sedan, and have M4 Coupe/Cabriolet? Seems like a waste of time and money to me, that they are marketing a vehicle with 95% identical parts to the 3 series as a different model.
Jan 5, 2013 9:49AM

Market Niche,

BMW builds cars that most auto enthusiasts salivate over at one time or another. Their design, ergonomics and performance characteristics often set benchmarks that other manufacturers feel compelled to emulate or exceed. That said, the company may be on a path that will dilute their market share in each price-point by offering too many models. The 4 Series coupe will have to re-state it's position among other entrenched luxury competitors in this new price range without compromising the already aggressive niche markets of BMW's sibling models above and below that figure. However, if any company can make it happen the guys in Bavaria will likely prevail.


Peace to all ~

Dec 8, 2012 12:11AM

I had a 96 328is in Calypso red color changing paint that I just loved.

BMW is right to keep using inline six`s Lot`s of area under the curve , and silky smooth.

I now have an old Jeep with the originally AMC-designed 4.0 inline 6 and just LOVE the torque curve.

Max torque comes in at 2500 RPM , and it is naturally aspirated !

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