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August 16, 2013
BMW has closely previewed the new M4 coupe with a new concept car. The BMW Concept M4 Coupe offers a thinly veiled look at a production version that will launch at the Detroit motor show in January.  The concept, which will be unveiled at Pebble Beach this weekend, is billed only as a design study at present and, as such, gives no technical insight into the new M4. However, BMW sources have confirmed that the new M4 will return to straight-six petrol power, ditching the V8 of its M3 coupe predecessor.

As the 3-series coupe adopts the new 4-series name for its latest generation, so the M3 version adopts the M4 name. The M4 name will be used for the coupe and as-yet unseen cabriolet and Gran Coupe (four-door) versions of BMW’s new staple M car, with the M3 name remaining for the 3-series-based four-door saloon that will also be shown in Detroit.

 

All of these M models will share a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre engine, producing an estimated 450bhp. That’s up on the 414bhp produced by the outgoing normally aspirated 4.0-litre V8. Torque is also tipped to be around 66.4kgm, up 11kgm on the outgoing M3’s V8. Expect this to lead to a 0-100kph time of around 4.5sec and a top speed limited to 250kph. 

Drive will be sent to the rear wheels through BMW M’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, essentially the same transmission found in the M5 and M6. A manual version is understood to be off the cards for the first time in the M3’s history. A four-wheel drive version was understood to be considered but was rejected by M.

While BMW M has yet to go public on the exact driveline details, it has gone into detail on the design and look of the new M4’s exterior. Predictably, the ‘Aurum Dust’-coloured M4 gets a much more muscular and sporty look than the 4-series on which it is based.

The redesigned front-end includes larger front air takes, a new bumper, a splitter fashioned from carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), a black kidney grille, LED headlights, a ‘powerdome’ bonnet and vertical air intakes in the front wheel arches to cool the carbon ceramic brakes.

The M4 is equipped with bi-colour 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels in BMW M’s traditional twin five-spoke design. Other lightweight features include a roof made from CFRP (designed to lower the centre of gravity), a material that’s also used for the rear diffuser. BMW is trying to get the M4’s kerbweight as close to the 1500kg mark as possible. 

Also at the rear is a downforce-producing lip spoiler integrated into the bootlid, sets of twin carbonfibre tailpipes at each corner, a new bumper and subtly redesigned taillights.

Another strong design feature is the strong character line on the side, emphasising the M gill air intake. This is not only to give a “sporty statement”, as BMW puts it, it also helps channel the air down the side of the car, working with the vertical air intakes in front of the front wheel arches. 

BMW has yet to reveal the M4’s interior, but the usual M upgrades, including new sports seats, a new steering wheel and bespoke M aluminium and carbonfibre trim, can be expected.

Reworked suspension geometry, three-stage dynamic damping control and the adoption of electro-mechanical steering for the first time are among the spec highlights, alongside the latest version of BMW M’s mechanical differential.

For more, check out the BMW M4 concept photo gallery