BMW 4-series, a lower, longer, wider 3-series, is on the way

BMW 4-series Coupe

BMW 4-series Coupe

BMW has found a use for a neglected number. There hasn’t been a 4-series BMW until now. And like the 6-series is to the 5-series, and the late and lamented 8-series was to the 7-series, the 4-series will be to the 3-series.

In other words, the BMW 4-series will be lower and wider than the current 3-series, and, as BMW notes, “the ‘4’ stands for greater sportiness, greater exclusivity and even clearer differentiation from the BMW 3 Series range.” The 4-series is just a concept now, officially the BMW Concept 4-series, but it’s production bound.

And it’s likely to be little changed, if past experiences are any guide.

As it stands, it looks like the 6-series, except in the smaller dimensions, tighter and more sporting than the grand touring-oriented sixers. It’s lower, longer and wider than the 3-series sedan, however, with a longer wheelbase and a wider track front and rear. By the numbers:

Wheelbase, inches

110.6

+2.0

Length, inches

178.7

+.5

Width, inches

71.9

+1.7

Height, inches

52.2

-.6

BMW didn’t announce engine choices but engine choices should mimic those of the 3-series sedan, coupe and convertible—and a convertible and four-door Gran Coupe are in the 4-series’ future as well. And we would be very surprised if there weren’t an M version of both as well. Look for a rumored 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder producing around 450bhp.

BMW 4-series Coupe

BMW 4-series Coupe

Don’t expect the production version of the 4-series coupe to be shown until late in 2013, with the convertible and Gran Coupe arriving in the first half of 2014. That sounds so utterly far away…

Indeed, BMW not only has a new number, they have our number as well.