Here’s an early look at the next BMW M4. Test mules have been spotted doing the rounds in the Arctic a couple of months after the regular 4er took its turn, and despite extreme camouflage there are definitely some talking points.
The first thing you should notice is just how similar the lines and shapes are to those of the Concept 4 we saw late last year… which is a double-edged sword. The headlights are a clear follow-on; the rear haunches are unchanged and the coupe roof line, joining the slightly lifted shoulder line over the rear wheel, looks identical.
Barely-discernable curves and bulges in the bonnet match those of the concept. We can even see the protruding grille surround in the side-on shot, so we know there’s going to be a significant nose there. But the front bumper itself, complete with the as-yet unconfirmed grille design, has been disguised so heavily that we simply can’t tell what’s going on there. Could BMW be re-thinking the design? It’s possible, given the backlash the Concept 4 took.
The concept was described as 85 per cent production-ready at the time it was revealed, with BMW strongly hinting that its gaping maw – which we improved no end with a couple of tweaks – would feature on the production vehicle. They always had the chance to change their minds, though.
So far we know that power for the future performance car will climb to 473bhp – or 454bhp in the manual-gearboxed ‘Pure’ model; a stripped-back and rear-wheel drive-only entry point to the range. All versions will use an S58 twin-turbocharged straight-six.
Both the M4 and its M3 sibling will feature M xDrive switchable four-wheel drive; a system already used potently by the M5. It will only come on the more expensive models, though; the remainder will be rear-wheel drive as ever. Drive in all models except Pure will go through an eight-speed automatic transmission. All that said, nothing seems quite as big a deal as what it’s going to look like…