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Detroit show: BMW’s new coupe to the 4

All 4: The sleek Concept 4 Series Coupe is expected to go into production in the first half of next year and land in Australia about July.

BMW confirms its 3 Series sports models will come under 4 Series banner next year


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6 Dec 2012

THE BMW 3 Series Coupe is dead – long live the 4 Series.

The German company overnight confirmed the worst-kept secret in the motor industry when it revealed its new 4 Series Coupe in concept form ahead of its public showing at the Detroit motor show in January.

The design – which will also spawn a two-door, four-seat convertible and four-door Gran Coupe at a later date – is believed to be faithful to the production version, give or take a few twirls.

Based on past launches, we can expect the convertible to be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show late in the year ahead of a showroom debut in 2014.

The fourth-generation coupe is again based on the 3 Series platform, sharing the same 2810mm wheelbase as the sixth-generation sedan that was launched in Australia early this year, but gets greater styling differentiation to set it apart from its cooking cousin.

BMW’s decision to remove the coupe and convertible from the 3 Series range is in line with its policy of standalone nomenclature for its sporty models that started with the 8 Series and 6 Series.

Next cab off the rank is expected to be the 2 Series, removing the 1 Series Coupe and Convertible from the current entry-level model range next time around.

The 4 Series is expected to go into production in the first half of 2013 and arrive in Australia about mid year, probably July.

No powertrain or performance details have been announced for the 4 Series ahead of the Detroit show, but expect a similar range of engines to the sedan, including a blistering M4 from about 2014.

BMW Australia is still yet to decide if it will include a diesel in the new range, as it tends to lend itself to the new-generation TwinPower petrol four-cylinder engines and turbo inline sixes.

Transmissions will be the eight-speed ZF automatic that is now universal across the range and a six-speed manual.

As BMW points out, the new coupe is bigger in most dimensions than the current model, but so is the new 3 Series.

Interestingly, the coupe is 17mm longer than the sedan, at 4641mm, 15mm wider (1826mm) and 67mm lower (1362mm).

The effect is a more road-hugging stance, planted on big 20-inch wheels. The extra width has been applied around the rear haunches to accommodate a wide rear track.

The biggest visual difference to the current generation is the air opening under the bumper, with gaping scoops towards the sides, surrounded by metallic edging.

This shape is replicated in the bumper at the back, along with a boot lid that ends in an aerodynamic lip, similar to that of the 6 Series.

The sleeker headlamps are full LED, and while they continue BMW’s trademark twin lens design, they break with tradition by being hexagonal instead of circular.

Side vents – or “air breathers” in BMW-speak – aids aerodynamics, while maintaining BMW’s trademark “Hofmeister kink” shape.

Interior photographs show a design similar to the 3 Series in key elements, but with variations such as double-stitched leather across the lower dash and braided leather strip garnishes on the seats, door trims and even the cup-holders and door maps.

The brown leather also gets white contrast piping and white double stitching.

The concept is a four-seater, with a pronounced hump separating the two rear seats.

The concept in the photographs appears in a specially developed metallic grey paint called Liquid Metal, which is reminiscent of the coating for Lexus’s LF-CC coupe shown at the Paris motor show.

The Lexus – one of the direct challengers for the new 4 Series Coupe, will also be unveiled at the Detroit extravaganza.

In Australia, the current BMW 3 Series Coupe/Convertible has contributed 703 sales to BMW’s tally this year, but it plays second fiddle to the arch rival Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe that has achieved 2154 sales.

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