“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.
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.”