Currently reading: BMW previews next-gen 4 Series and i4 with bold concept
Concept 4 Series features large kidney grille is inspired by 1930s 328; electric version due in 2021
James Attwood, digital editor
3 mins read
10 September 2019

BMW has revealed the Concept 4 Series Coupé at the Frankfurt motor show, previewing radically revamped styling for the second-generation version of the two-door coupé, set to launch in late 2020 – and the new electric i4, due in 2021.

The new concept, designed as 85% production ready, shows how BMW is intending to give the Audi A5 Coupé rival a far more distinctive identity from the 3 Series on which it’s based, with a more ‘emotional and dynamic’ design that emphasises performance. 

The Concept 4 Series signals a change in how BMW is applying its flexible vehicle architecture, with combustion engine and electric models based on similar platforms. The firm says the concept previews the "4 Series range", indicating it will form the basis of both the 4 Series and i4.

The front is dominated by a large new interpretation of the firm’s kidney grille, featuring a more vertical design that BMW says was inspired by the grille from the 328 coupé of the 1930s. The grille features raised elements in it, to give a three-dimensional effect. 

“The intent is to give the car its own character, which is why it’s got a new kind of BMW face,” said BMW Design’s Stefan Woerns. “It’s clearly different from the 3 Series, and unique to the 4 Series, which is as it should be. The intent is to position this car as more exclusive and upscale.” 

The front of the car is shaped around the kidney, with a highly sculpted bonnet and a very low front that includes large side air intakes and a new U-shaped intake underneath the grille. The LED headlights are thinner than usually seen on a BMW, and on the concept do without a glass cover. 

The side profile of the car is that “of a classic coupé”, taking several cues from the larger 8 Series, with a long wheelbase and short overhangs to emphasis the flowing coupé roof. There are two ‘character’ lines on the car, placed lower than usually seen on a BMW. The concept sits on 21in wheels featuring 3D-effect alloy rims, while the slim wing mirrors are made of a single piece of aluminium. 


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The rear is built around a prominent diffuser, and features sculpted twin exhaust points. The lights retain BMW’s traditional L-shape, but feature a new ‘heartbeat’ design. 

The concept shown at Frankfurt is an exterior concept only, and BMW officials wouldn’t comment on any technical details of the production car, or an exact launch date. 

However, disguised prototype versions of the second-generation 4 Series have been spied testing, and it is understood the machine will use BMW’s latest CLAR platform, which supports both rear and four-wheel-drive. 

The engine line-up is expected to be similar to that of the 3 Series, using a range of 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants, with a plug-in hybrid model likely. 

A new M4 is also under development, while the production coupé will be followed by a convertible and a four-door 4 Series Gran Coupé.

Q&A with Stefan Woerns, BMW design

What was the design brief? 

“It’s about combining dynamic and elegant design. It’s simple, bold and characterful, and we’ve put lots of attention to detail into little features such as the grille elements and the lights.” 

Why did you choose such a bold grille? 

“It’s a new shape of kidney, but it fits the proportions of the car. It’s more vertical than on our other models, but it references coupés from our past, like the 328.” 

Are you expecting a reaction to the grille?

“It’s a new car, and a new kidney grille, and it takes time to get used to it. The kidney grille is a unique design icon of BMW, and it’s about how you interpret it. We used to feature a regular grille across all models, but we wanted to use different forms and shapes for each model.”

Read more

New BMW 4 Series Coupé spied testing at Nurburgring​

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10 September 2019

That kidney grill is so disgusting the picture should be removed forthwith. Surely even BMW fanboys will agree with that

10 September 2019

OMG this must go down as the worst looking front  of a car since the car was invented. Are  the managment at BMW unaware of what their designers are doing, by this  abomination clearly not. How did it get this far ?  the world is laughing at you BMW by being this crass you are the joke of Frankfurt 2019

10 September 2019

 Oh come on!, move with the times, can’t live in the past,yes, even I had to give in to clinging for dear life the Cars I thought were just awesome!, the grill, everyone’s going on about it, it’s bigger, lower too, but it’s in proportion to the Car, it’s not a deal breaker for me, the rest of the Car , granted it’s a concept, is just evolution of BMW design,so, come and join us , there’s some great stuff coming!

10 September 2019

 BMW say, ifthis Car goes into production, the grill, WILL be toned down......

10 September 2019
I never expected a BMW inspired by an Edsel visiting a proctologist.


10 September 2019

...its a joke right?


10 September 2019

I'll take the Hyundai 45 concept, 1000x better than this BMW minger. 

10 September 2019

Chris Bangle has returned to the fold to make sure his previous fugly cars are not outdone with even uglier BMWs!

10 September 2019

Sad to report someone has taken a photocopy of their bottom and stuck it on the front of a BMW.

10 September 2019

Oh my eyes. I fear they are permanently scarred after viewing this latest monstrosity from BMW.


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