BMW played a pretty good practical joke on the universe when it debuted the Concept 4, which previewed the next-generation 4 Series, including what might be . But as the real deal draws closer, it appears that everything looks a lot more harmonious.
BMW on Wednesday unveiled a host of teaser images and specifications for the upcoming 4 Series, which should debut later this year as a 2021 model. From what I can see in the previews, the 4 looks like it should bear more than a passing resemblance to the new 3 Series. The headlights look sharper, the body looks a little more sculpted and -- perhaps the best part -- the grille appears blissfully proportional, a far cry from what I saw on the Concept 4. Out back, there's a sporty roofline leading to a proper trunk, and I'd wager the taillights look pretty close to the 3 Series, too.
But that's where the points of comparison begin to drift apart. In its release, BMW promises that the 4 Series will better stand apart from its four-door sibling this time around. The body is slipperier, decreasing the coefficient of drag by 0.015. The 4 Series is also a full two inches closer to the ground, which means it should be more fun to toss around. Further boosts to its on-road prowess come from many of the new adaptive suspension components found in the 3 Series, as well as a whole bunch of bracing to keep the chassis nice and solid.
New powertrains are also coming along for the ride. The new BMW M440i xDrive Coupe will combine a 374-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The extra juice can be used for efficiency's sake, prolonging stop-start time and permitting lighter engine loads at times, but it can also provide an additional 11 hp (and an unspecified amount of torque) when a driver smashes the gas pedal. An eight-speed automatic transmission will send that hustle to all four wheels through BMW's M Sport differential.
Obviously, the automaker isn't quite ready to dish all the deets. BMW is still putting the new 4 Series through its paces in and around Munich, having already completed development stints in Sweden, France and the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife. We're not quite sure when the 4 Series will make its official debut -- and I wouldn't blame BMW for not exactly knowing at this moment, either -- but it shouldn't be too far off now.