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BMW Concept 4 has some big ol' kidneys

The coupe concept previews the next BMW 4 Series.

BMW Concept 4
BMW may have taken Nelly's song about grilles a bit too literally.
Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

It's been some time since BMW unveiled the latest generation of 3 Series, but its two-door sibling, the 4 Series, had yet to receive the same love. While we still haven't seen the next-gen 4, BMW's latest concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show gives us a good idea of what to expect.

BMW on Tuesday unveiled the Concept 4 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It's just about impossible to not start the conversation anywhere but the front end, which sports a massive pair of conjoined kidney grilles. The automaker said in its press release that this prominent feature is "confident and classy." Look hard enough and you'll see a whole bunch of 4s joined together in the grille, which is a clever little touch.

The rest of the exterior bears resemblance to not only the latest 3 Series, but also the flagship 8 Series. The 3's looks are best reflected in the thinner headlights, while out back, the taillights are reminiscent of the concepts that heralded the 8 Series' arrival. It's a good look, and it should translate well to production, so long as the kidney grilles are kept in check.

Being a concept, BMW can take some liberties that it might not be able to on the production model. Take the side mirrors, for example. They're razor thin, with aluminum on the lower portion and a "floating" logo inside the mirror itself.

What's interesting about the Concept 4 is that it doesn't just preview a single model. Yes, it gives us an idea of what to expect when the next-generation 4 Series debuts in 2020, but there's more to it than that. It also hints at what's to come from the electrified side -- specifically, the i4, an electric car we've already seen in camouflaged form, testing alongside the iNext electric SUV.