BMW shows off M4 Coupe
The fact that BMW's new M4 will use a twin-turbo in-line six for its motive power makes many think that the company is not about to discard its most popular M-car: the M3.
This most numerous of all M-cars, the M3 started off with a highly tuned four-cylinder engine and dominated sedan racing for years before moving through inline sixes and ending up with a naturally aspirated V8 as its shape and size changed over 25 years of development.
It's unlikely that the Munich concern will drop its most successful M-badged car, which in turn makes it the flagship of its most popular range, the 3-series, so we expect to see a hot-to-trot M3 sedan in the not-too-distant future, too.
BMW is keeping mum about the car's powertrain choice, which is to be revealed next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We do know that the previous M3's V8 has been dropped in favour of a six-cylinder unit with 414hp or 305kW on tap. It is thought that it could be BMW's first triple-turbo petrol engine, following on from the technology already used by its most powerful six-cylinder diesel engines.
In the meantime, BMW lifted the protective sheet from its brand-new M4 Coupe, the successor to the outgoing M3 Coupe, at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California at the weekend.
While BMW calls the car a concept, its previous habits and the results of such unveilings have most pundits saying that it's a production-ready rendering of the car BMW will launch in showroom flesh at November's Los Angeles Motor Show.
BMW has been doing late teases like this for some years, as more and more unofficial pictures manage to break car company embargoes and digital firewalls. Simply, if the manufacturer does some teasing as BMW has, and other companies increasingly do, then some backroom troll who may not even have a driver's licence can't brag about his "journalism" on Twitter and in Facebook.
The Concept M4 Coupe seen at Pebble Beach is featured with a special colour called "Aurum Dust" - this is not a typo of autumn, either. The golden tone has been exclusively developed for the model, and will be seen as the hero colour for the M4 although other colours will be available.
The car also sports a typical M-style bodykit, which appears to be an exaggerated version of the kit used on the 4-Series M Performance car, with larger front bumper air inlets, a more heavily bulged engine cover, more prominent side sills on the front fenders and a different layout of the rear bumper, including four exhaust pipes.
There are other differences with the M4 over other members of the 4-series line-up too, such as:
An attentive eye will spot even more differences, such as a slightly more sinister set of flattened paired LED headlamps and a BMW M double bar kidney grille, with the bars imitating the M double spoke design of the familiar M wheels.
The show car sports 20-inch bicoloured versions of those wheels through which can be seen its ceramic brakes.
The M4 badge sits in the right nostril of the company grille and also on the vertical surface of the right side of the bootlid. This is where aspirational BMW M-car owners attach their own M-badges to "tune" their own lesser versions to some sort of car park street cred, such is the thrall in which people are held by the famous insignia - short for Motorsport. Ever subtle, unlike many performance variations of ordinary cars, the BMW M4 has but a subtle vestigial boot spoiler; there are no wings on this car.
There is, however, a deep front air-splitter and a rear diffuser, which incorporates the four outlets for the six-into-two-into-four exhaust system. The M4's splitter, diffuser and roof are each made of CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced plastics) for lower weight and consequently a lower centre of gravity.
In the front quarters, just behind the wheel arches, the car's M gills incorporate what BMW calls its air breather, which, together with the air curtain created within the front apron, help ventilate the wheel arches to generate better airflow and lower lift levels.
Meanwhile, the big question BMW fans are also asking before the Frankfurt show is: what will the company's first non-Mini front-wheel-drive cars look and drive like? Watch this space.