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BMW Concept 4 Coupe takes over where 3 Series left off (pictures)

Lately, BMW tried to make the 3 Series satisfy both driving enthusiasts and luxury-seekers through options and trim lines, but the Concept 4 Series finally gives the former a dedicated sports car.

Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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DETROIT--At the 2013 North American International Auto Show auto show, BMW's Concept 4 Series Coupe indicates a future design direction for the company, and fills a hole in the lineup. The car serves as a more focused sport vehicle than the current 3 Series, which became watered down when BMW attempted to make it suitable for both performance and luxury seekers. Design cues seen on the front are the light pipes around the headlights and machined, inset pieces on the intake.
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Engine choices in a production 4 Series are not likely to deviate from those currently offered on the 3 Series. A twin-scroll turbo 3-liter straight six, with direct injection, would seem likely. With similar specs to the 335is Coupe, it would have 320 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque.
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The Concept 4 Series Coupe seems likely to take the place of the 3 Series Coupe, which would only be offered in sedan and convertible body styles. In concept form, the 4 Series is longer than the 3 Series, and also has a lower roofline.
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The fender vent shows a machined, inset piece, similar to the design of the front intake. This design theme continues around the car. Thin rubber around the wheels also emphasizes the sporting character. BMW dynamic chassis features should be available on this car.
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The roofline ends in fastback style, coming down to meet the trunk lid. Although this car is not a hatchback, BMW usually hinges its rear seat backs, creating a big pass-through to the trunk. In this case, it would give the car hatchback utility. One design element that remains is BMW's traditional Hofmeister kink, the slanted rear line at the back of the side glass.
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More inset design can be seen under the rear of the car, where the exhaust pipes meld with a narrow, geometric piece.
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BMW has been very good about standardizing its technology across models, so the cabin of a future 4 Series production model is likely to employ the same screen and electronics as in the 3 Series. The Concept 4 Series Coupe shows a screen mounted just above the center air vents, similar to that found in the 3 Series. This concept also has a manual transmission, which is to be expected from a performance car.

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