BMW Concept 4 points the way to next-gen 4-series

BMW pulled the covers off its two-door coupe concept at the Frankfurt motor show. Unfortunately, for those present, it subsequently refused to put the covers back on.

What exactly was BMW going for here?

‘Perfect proportions with a clear and precise design,’ according to BMW Group’ Design’s senior VP, Adrian van Hooydonk. The Concept 4 is strewn with crisp lines and angular creases – a departure from BMW’s sculpted wheelarches, round-edged bonnet creases and tapered lights.

The bonnet is long, the cockpit glasshouse is shallow and the rear is stubby – all strong design cues for a coupe. Details like super-slim door mirrors, rear lights with one single fibre-optic light running through them and big, ‘dished’ alloy wheels are all present and correct.

All of the bodywork is finished in ‘Forbidden Red’ – a deep metallic colour that’s designed to emphasise the 4’s lines, shifting from a vivid red in the when light is projected on it to near-black.

Yes, but… that grille!

Ah. Yes. It seems that BMW’s designers really are going to town with its famous kidney grille motif. Not content with making it large enough to suck in wildlife on the updated 7-series or new X7, Adrian van Hooydonk and his team have stretched its height as much as it can go now, too.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a rat’s teeth-style kidney grille, with the i Vision Dynamics concept of two years ago also pointing to a slimmer but taller arrangement – albeit blanked off. BMW says it’s meant to point to earlier times when its trad design signature wasn’t as large as some cars, like the original 328 and 3.0 CSi.

There are some 3D-effect details in it, too, with chromed hexagonal details in the forefront and grating shaped like a series of joined-up number fours in the background.

How much of this will actually make production?

Don’t expect it to be a copy-and-paste job for the production cars, but expect a lot of the design cues to be carried over. Think of the 8-series; many of the proportions stayed the same from the concept car, even if BMW made it look a little fussier than the Concept.

Will the 4-series and i4 be more of a design departure from the 3-series? We’ll have to wait and see. We’ll be talking to BMW at the show about the new car, so stay tuned for more updates.

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