When talking about the new BMW 4-series, it’s hard not to get distracted by the prospect of that grille. Even though the 4er’s giant gnashers are hidden from view in these new photos from BMW, the very knowledge of their existence is nonetheless perturbing.
But focus on something other than those huge kidneys we must, as BMW has just dropped a load of fresh information about the car. Including one particularly interesting detail about the powertrain - the range-topping M440i will be a mild hybrid.
Although peak power of 372bhp from the B58 inline-six turbo isn’t any different to the M340i’s output, the 48-volt starter motor-generator and the supplementary battery can give an 11bhp kick at low engine speeds. That should be enough for a noticeable change in character, along with a slight boost in efficiency.
It should also handle differently to the 3-series, despite the fact most of the suspension components are shared across each vehicle. The rear track is 23mm wider, there’s more negative camber at the front, and BMW has added a load of new bracing to make the shell stiffer.
Overall it’s 57mm lower than the 3-series, dropping the centre of gravity by 21mm. The body is also - as you’d probably expect - slightly slipperier than the 3er’s, with the drag coeficient improved by 0.015Cd.
Like the M340i, the M440i will have an all-wheel drive system with an electronically-controlled locking differential at the rear.
For anyone wanting more than 372bhp, there will eventually be an M4 with 503bhp on tap from the ‘S58’ twin-turbo inline-six used in the X3 M Competition and the incoming M3. And yes, it’ll have the same face as the 4-series. Expect the latter to be here sometime this summer, with the M4 following before the year is out.