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First Look: BMW Concept 4-Series Coupe

Filling the white space - in Liquid Metal Silver.

by on Dec.05, 2012

BMW's long-awaited 4-Series will debut in concept form at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

Just when you might have thought there’d be no more opportunities to flesh out the BMW line-up, the Bavarian maker has come up with another white space to fill – with the long-awaited BMW Concept 4-Series.

Don’t worry, it won’t remain in show car form for long. Spinning off from the 3-Series sedan line, the new BMW 4-Series will include both Coupe and Cabriolet models when the production version reaches showrooms next year.  The move echoes the strategy of rival Mercedes-Benz which adopted the CLK designation for its C-Class Coupe.

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Explains a news release from BMW, “The ‘4’ doesn’t just mark the start of a new cycle, it represents the zenith of a development curve. BMW has given the new model its own individual character and a standalone design – and, in so doing, has turned ‘4’ into segment shorthand for aesthetic and dynamic appeal.”

The BMW Concept 4-Series is longer, lower and wider than the latest 3-Series.

As you might expect of a coupe, the 4-Series will have a lower and wider stance than the latest-generation three series.  The BMW Concept 4 Coupe’s wheelbase, at 110.6 inches, is about 2 inches longer than the old 3-Series Coupe, and it is longer, overall, at 182.7 inches. The front track is almost two inches wider, the rear widened more than three inches. At 71.9 inches, subtract nearly two inches in width, while the roofline has been lowered about 0.6 inches.

But the basic BMW template remains: short overhangs, a long wheelbase with a long, sweeping hood, the passenger compartment set back. The initial impression of the Concept 4-Series Coupe is that of kinetic motion, even more than with the old 3-Series 2-door.

The front face is also recognizable, though the full LED headlamps and double-kidney grille appear to be more slender and sporty.  Subtle steps, such as the way the grille has been closed off, are meant to improve aerodynamics. Indeed, aerodynamic elements were essential to the design, including the Air Curtain system that channels air around the front wheels, normally a place of significant wind drag.

A closer look at the 2-tone interior.

One notable difference from the 3-Series sedan, says BMW, is the extra-large air intake in the lower fascia.“Its wide opening hints at the extra air required by the powerful engines and guides the eye around to the muscular flared wheel arches. The two vent surrounds on either side of the intake replicate the contours of the hexagonal headlight graphics to lend the front end an even wider and more sporting look.”

Perhaps the strongest feature of the Concept 4’s rear is the bumper, with a distinctive satin-nickel hued aluminum trim piece. The L-shaped lamps highlight the car’s shape at night. The taillights are unique to the 4-Series.

The BMW Concept S-Series Coupe is completed by its liquid metal silver paint and 20-inch wheels and tires.

The interior features a two-tone black-and-brown theme offset by light stitching, the leather produced, the maker explains, through an “environment-friendly tanning process.” The seats and door sill feature embossed “BMW Individual” lettering.  Natural chestnut wood trim finish the interior look.

We’ll be given a look at the new sheet metal at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, a month from now with the production BMW 4-Series Coupe rolling into showrooms soon afterwards.  Also on tap are a 4-Series Convertible, with an M4 and an X4 crossover set to follow.

If the relationship between BMW’s 5- and 6-Series lines holds true, expect to see a several thousand dollar premium for the new 4-Series models.

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