Images of BMW’s Concept M4 Coupé have emerged this evening prior to its official release at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
As is the norm with BMW it’s a ‘concept’, so in theory could change before reaching production, but from past experience this is 99% the final deal – save for some of the carbon fibre detailing around the rear exhausts and the ‘//M’ stripes on the contoured carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof.
The colour shown in these pictures is called ‘Aurum Dust’ and was first shown in BMW’s teaser video (posted earlier in the week) – it looks a lot like Phoenix Yellow, first introduced on the E46 M3, and was exclusively developed for this concept.
“At BMW M, design is above all an expression of function,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design. “Each design element is based on the underlying technical demands of the BMW M high performance concept.”
And it seems BMW have gone to great lengths to underline the Concept M4’s lightweight nature, paying homage to the E46 M3 CSL’s rear – where the rear spoiler lip is integrated into the boot lid for optimum downforce. To underline the optimised lightweight design, the Concept M4 features two pairs of carbon fibre tailpipes encompassed by a sculpted rear apron, while a carbon fibre rear diffuser completes the package.
The M3’s characteristic power dome symbolises the power underneath the bonnet, while a carbon fibre front splitter adds to the aggression of the Concept M4’s front end.
Friedrich Nitschke, chairman of BMW’s managing board said “The BMW Concept M4 Coupe reflects the BMW M philosophy in ideal form: It combines motor racing genes and unrestricted everyday suitability in a highly emotional overall concept.”
“For four generations, the BMW M3 has put motor racing on the road and the BMW Concept M4 Coupe consistently continues to pursue this fundamental idea.”
The 20” M light alloy wheels look remarkably similar to those on the M6 although they’re a size larger at 20-inches, while the ‘M4’ badge is located in the now-familiar position on the left kidney grille. New to BMW’s mainstream M model are M Carbon ceramic brakes, coloured in the case of the Concept M4 to match the paintwork.
According to BMW’s press statement the Concept M4 features ‘a wide track and powerfully flared wheel arches’, although it looks much the same as a regular 4 Series Coupé – we’ll have to wait until we see it for ourselves before deciding if the muscular bodywork is actually noticeable.
A redesigned M gill now incorporates BMW’s Air Breather, which together with the Air Curtain within the front apron serves to improve air flow and fuel consumption. It hides what is otherwise an awkward feature on the regular 4 Series and 3 GT, but looks incongruously cheap in black plastic – couldn’t BMW have stretched to a little more carbon fibre?
But we’re not surprised, or especially interested in its looks, the big story which we should know the answer to soon is how much power its turbocharged six-cylinder engine will produce.
After BMW dropped its predecessor’s mighty V8, we’ve all been waiting with baited breath to confirm if 450 horsepower is on the cards, or if they’ve taken a conservative route and focused more on the philosophy of lightweight construction. Or is it both?
Rumours suggest around 444bhp with over 400lb-ft of torque – that would represent a gain of 30bhp and more than 100lb-ft on the 4.0-litre V8 E92 M3 coupe, which itself was no slouch. Pricing is likely to be competitive with Audi’s RS 4 and RS 5, which means between £55,000 and £60,000.
The production M4 Coupé will premiere at the Detroit Auto Show in January before going on sale in mid-2014.