- BMW has unveiled the Concept 4 at the 2019 Frankfurt auto show, saying it “offers a look ahead to the expressive face of the 4-series range,” which is expected in the U.S. for the 2021 model year.
- The Concept 4 continues BMW’s recent fascination with huge, ungainly grilles that are oversized variations of the company’s famous kidney-shaped grilles of the past.
- The Concept 4’s proportions and styling are closely related to the 8-series coupe’s, but recent spy photos of the production version of the 4-series indicate that its looks will be less exaggerated than the show car’s.
BMW has a long and strong design tradition, but it’s also not afraid to push the walls of the styling box it’s in—sometimes to a fault. The latest example of the company’s styling overzealousness is the just-introduced Concept 4.
The Concept 4 is a one-off design exercise shown for the first time at the 2019 Frankfurt auto show. It’s intended to signal to the world that a new 4-series coupe is on the way and that it will look something like this.
It shouts that message out through a huge, mouthy grille, which BMW says indicates what the front end of the upcoming 2021 4-series will look like. If you’ve seen the latest 7-series sedan and X7 SUV, the Concept 4’s front end won’t be a complete shock; the grilles of those two production models are among the largest on the market, and they look like they are screaming epithets at the other vehicles on the road.
We can’t decide whether the Concept 4’s grille looks more like a huge waffle iron or a sea lamprey’s mouth, but either way, it’s intense. However, recent spy photos of a production 4-series coupe undergoing tests on the Nürburgring indicate that the production version’s styling will be toned down somewhat from that of the dramatic show car—and that probably includes the grille.
As seen in the spy photos, the production 4-series’ proportions seem a bit more upright—though still sleek—and its flanks appear to be less deeply sculptured. The nose, while well camouflaged, looks to have a taller version of the kidney-esque grilles seen on the Z4 and 8-series, but not as large a grille as the Concept 4’s.
The 4-series is expected once again to consist of a full range of models, including the coupe, a convertible, and a Gran Coupe four-door hatchback. The 4s will be built on the same architecture that underpins the 3-series and will be powered by a similar powertain lineup. That means they will offer a choice of a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four or a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6—both hitched to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission—and optional all-wheel drive. Also as before, expect an M4 hot rod to top the lineup.
The one feature we hope we don’t get? A 4-series that has a front end with quite as much, um, presence as the Concept 4’s.