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BMW 4 Series nears completion. Image by BMW AG.

BMW 4 Series nears completion
Flagship M440i with 48V MHEV system will top incoming BMW 4 Series range.
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Newer articles featuring 2020 BMW 4 Series

2020-10-28: First drive: BMW 420d M Sport
2020-10-23: First drive: BMW M440i xDrive
2020-09-29: BMW unveils 4 Series Convertible

What's all this about?

This is our first look at the new BMW 4 Series Coupe, the companion model to the current 3 Series. It's going through its final shakedown period before its full unveiling in June, but we've got some details on the sporty, midsized coupe right now.

OK, where do we start?

We start with the seventh-generation 'G20' Three, which is designed to be the sharpest-driving tool it can be, without sacrificing its day-to-day civility and practicality. However, BMW's aim is to make the more rakish 4 Series even more rewarding to drive than the 3 Series, so it has additional strengthening parts bolted into its chassis to make it even better for torsional rigidity, it is 57mm lower overall than a 3 Series with a centre-of-gravity which sits 21mm closer to the road, the negative camber of the front wheels has been increased and the rear axle's track width has grown by 23mm to aid directional stability, and it's also more aerodynamically efficient, with a drag coefficient 0.015 better than the 3 Series. Chuck in bespoke settings for the stroke-dependent shock absorbers, as well as the steering and the brakes, and you get a car that BMW obviously seems quietly confident about.

What's the overall suspension make-up like?

The two-door 4 Series (Gran Coupe version yet TBC, but it's almost inevitable) sits on double-wishbone front suspension with a five-link rear axle, teamed to the lift-related dampers first seen on the 3 Series, which offer continuously variable, progressive damping control as a function of spring travel. And this is just the standard set-up, as there will be Sport and Adaptive M Sport evolutions of the Four's underpinnings to go at, as well.

Have you got any details on engines?

We've been told that we should expect the usual 420i, 430i, 420d and 430d variants to kick us off (meaning the only six-pot motor will be the last of these four, as the others are all four-cylinder turbocharged jobs), but BMW is happy to admit that the 4 Series will kick off with the first-ever M Performance derivative for this particular Munich model line. Now, before you start feverishly writing in, accusing us of forgetting the M4, we said M Performance, not full M. And no, we've not overlooked the old 440i, either, but that wasn't an M Performance version, just a very, very fast six-cylinder petrol.

This time around, the launch flagship will be the M440i xDrive. It takes the 374hp/500Nm running gear from the M340i xDrive and augments it with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, complete with a starter-generator and a second battery pack. Obviously, this improves efficiency in the main but it also delivers an additional 8kW (11hp) of electric boost to the drivetrain, so the M340i should be even quicker than the M340i, which doesn't have the electrical magubbins to fall back upon. As its name suggests, the M440i has four-wheel (x)drive to channel all of its grunt to the road surface, while an eight-speed Steptronic Sport gearbox should provide seamless power delivery. Although it's not a car fully developed by M, BMW's go-faster arm nevertheless sets the dynamic parameters the 4 Series engineering team must meet and then has final sign-off on the prototype, so the M440i xDrive will have an M Sport differential, M Sport brakes and 18-inch M light-alloy wheels with mixed-size tyres on the axles, all to make the 440i even more fun to drive.

In June, coronavirus crisis permitting, full details of the 4 Series will be revealed. And yes, final note to make here: even with the swirly-whirly camouflage plastered all over this new Beemer, it would appear that rumours that it would have honking great kidney grilles like the i4 Gran Coupe were erroneous. Unless BMW has put a completely different front end on this disguised prototype, it is clear to see the 4 Series has a number-plate mounting point and bumper spar bisecting its nose, with the grilles above and a full-width air intake below. Good news, then, if you were fearing the worst for the visual aesthetic of the Four...

Matt Robinson - 28 Apr 2020

Earlier articles featuring 2020 BMW 4 Series

2019-09-03: BMW to make just 750 M Heritage M4s

2020 BMW 4 Series Pre-Drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 4 Series Pre-Drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 4 Series Pre-Drive. Image by BMW AG.2020 BMW 4 Series Pre-Drive. Image by BMW AG.    - BMW road tests
- BMW news
- 4 Series images

New BMW X3 topped by 398hp M50. Image by BMW.
BMW reveals all-new Mk4 X3
BMW has taken the wraps off its fourth-generation X3 SUV.
BMW enacts second midlife update on 3 Series. Image by BMW.
BMW updates seventh-gen 3er for second time
Seventh-gen Three receives new infotainment, a longer-range PHEV derivative and sundry other changes.
BMW showcases one-off Concept Skytop grand tourer. Image by BMW.
BMW Concept Skytop revealed
The new show car is being presented at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este, and could preview the next 8 Series.

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