The new styling is designed to further differentiate the two-door, four-seat coupé from the related 3 Series saloon.
The second-generation 4 Series will go on sale in October with a range-topping 369bhp M440i model before the M4 performance flagship follows late next year. Convertible and four-door Gran Coupé variants are in development, with a 523bhp i4 electric saloon also due in 2021.
The 4 Series launched as a stand-alone model in 2014, taking the baton from the three-door 3 Series. While it’s based on the same CLAR platform as the latest 3 Series, BMW has substantially overhauled the design of the coupé. It features a sleek side profile with bold surfaces, the reduced use of some of BMW’s traditional styling lines and narrow, and full-LED lights front and rear.
The most distinctive feature, though, is the large front grille, which uses a ‘more vertical’ interpretation of the signature kidney shape that’s designed to invoke classic BMWs, such as the pre-war 328 sports car.
BMW design boss Domagoj Dukec told Autocar the bold grille is intended to make the 4 Series look “more emotional” and offset the reduced use of other key design elements.
“The kidney is our most prominent design icon,” said Dukec. “We did so many things differently with this car: there’s no horizontal shaven line, no classic Hofmeister kink. With so many things different in the body, we wanted a very special grille linked to our heritage.
“If you look at models like the 328, until the 1980s the grille was always more vertical than horizontal. We wanted a kidney with a strong link to our heritage – but it shouldn’t look like any BMW before and it shouldn’t look like any other car on the road.”