Like it or loathe it, BMW’s most recent design habit is to introduce larger and larger versions of their signature kidney grille. Most have reacted with indifference while others are more vocal with their distaste for the engorged nostrils, this writer included.
When the time came to make their seasonal unveils at the most high profile European motor show in the second half of the automotive calendar, the Munich automaker rolled out a mostly beautiful coupe called the Concept 4 Series, unambiguously so named as a preview of what the next-generation successor to the F32 could look like.
“Mostly”, because it boasts an absolutely massive schnozz that stretches almost the entire height of the front fascia. Perhaps it’s a jab at the folks who aren’t fans of the ever-larger grille trend which, given their size, should be likened to a pair of lungs instead kidneys.
The company justifies this addition to the Concept 4 Series’ front end as being a callback to the designs of its past coupes, specifically the 328 from the 1930s. To modernise it, BMW have even added raised elements within the pattern for a three-dimensional effect. Well, it certainly is bold, and we can’t argue that it isn’t an effective homage.
Apart from that, the rest of the concept car is very promising indeed. A rather long wheelbase and stretched rear end accentuates the comparatively short front overhang brilliantly for a look and stance evocative of a classically proportioned rear-drive fast back. Sure makes prospect of an all-new M4 even more tantalising if this is any reference point.
This profile is also a condensation of what BMW has previously explored with the 8 Series, traceable from its concept phase. Indeed, we see many parallels with the company’s now-flagship two door here, and in so doing expect that the incoming 4 Series will make a similar move upmarket, distancing itself somewhat from the 3 Series saloon.
Very pronounced and polished 21-inch wheels fill the sides up neatly and are given a similar 3D effect thanks to the multiple layers of spokes within. These aren’t likely to make the production spec, however, which is a shame. That said, we do hope these new slim headlights do make the cut, even if their coverless implementation here can’t be replicated in real life.
Unfortunately, BMW have not spoken a word about what might hiding under that long bonnet, though we can guess it’s likely to be either a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.0-litre inline-6 if it were to be mass produced.
At the rear of the car, a chromed rectangular cutout indicates where the exhaust exits should be. However, looking closer at the studio shots find exits are blocked off, looking less likely that BMW bothered to slot in an engine of any kind - granted, it’s a show car after all.
Another mystery is the interior, which is totally masked by a very dark tint to all windows and screens. Given that the next 4 Series would share plenty with the G20 3 Series, it’s only natural that most of its cabin design will be carried over. And that’s no bad thing at all.
BMW are expected to reveal more about the finished next-generation 4 Series some time in earlier 2020 with a tentative production rollout later next year. We’ll have more on that as it develops.