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Concept 4 fills a gap in BMW lineup (pictures)

BMW released photos of its BMW Concept 4 Series Coupe online today, showing a dedicated coupe-bodied car slotting in between the current 3 Series and 5 Series cars.

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Wayne Cunningham

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With fierce competition from Audi, BMW needs to up its game, so has been trying different models, some of them, such as the 5 Series GT, being slightly radical. But this concept for a 4 Series Coupe looks like a good fit with the model lineup, and reaffirms BMW's performance heritage. The 4 Series Coupe, based on the existing 3 Series, is a little longer and boasts wider tracks on the front and rear wheels, suggesting a strong performance play.
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LED headlights are often seen on concept cars, but in this car may represent production-intent design. Labels on the sides proclaim "BMW Adaptive LED," the same technology already offered on production cars, such as the 2012 650i. These LED headlights project light into turns, following the action of the steering wheel.
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BMW's announcement of the Concept 4 Series Coupe did not include any mention of drivetrains, but the company would likely pull from its current lineup, probably offering its 3-liter inline six-cylinder and 2-liter inline four-cylinder, both of which feature direct injection and turbocharging.
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The styling looks very sleek, going in the same direction as the recent 6 Series. This car is a long way from the flame-surface styling of BMW's Bangle era. If BMW pulls the 3 Series coupe in favor of this new 4 Series model, it would be copying Audi's model plan of maintaining the A4 as a sedan and the A5 as a coupe.
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BMW integrates the tailpipes with the rear fascia, a recent trend among car companies. It also seems like a detail that would make it to production.
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The Concept 4 Series Coupe shows very prominent machined-looking fender vent inserts with a shape echoing the LED parking strip in the headlight casings. Although this vent would give a 4 Series real distinction, it looks like an expensive element that could easily get dropped for a production car.
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The cabin of the Concept 4 Series Coupe looks overwrought, with materials just a little too rich in color and texture for everyday living. This design seems in line with some of the odder interior choices available on the current 3 Series.
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This detail shot shows the leather webbing used as stitching along the door panels, an extreme interior-design choice.
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Beyond some odd styling, there are no surprises in the cabin. The layout looks the same as in the current BMW 3 Series, complete with the thin-panel LCD sitting front and center on the dashboard. BMW showed this concept with a manual shifter as well, which seems like a hint at its hands-on performance character.

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