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BMW Concept M4 Coupe Unveiled at 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Just the Facts:
  • Details of the upcoming BMW M4 were released on Thursday night as the automaker unveiled a concept version of the high-performance coupe at a press conference in Pebble Beach, California.
  • The production version of the BMW M4 will employ numerous weight-savings strategies.
  • Both the BMW M3 sedan and the M4 coupe are likely to arrive in mid-2014.

PEBBLE BEACH, California — Details of the upcoming BMW M4 were released on Thursday night as the automaker unveiled a concept version of the high-performance coupe at a press conference in Pebble Beach, California. The BMW Concept M4 Coupe looks very close to the real thing, which may arrive at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show in January or the 2014 Geneva Auto Show in March.

The BMW M4 coupe will replace the current BMW M3 coupe.

There will also be a convertible version of the M4, while the four-door sedan will retain the M3 designation to remain in line with BMW's new model naming strategy. The M3 and the M4 are likely to go on sale simultaneously, probably in the second half of 2014, making them 2015 model-year cars.

BMW has yet to disclose the output for the new model, although it's highly likely that it will be powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine rather than the 4.0-liter normally aspirated V8 of the outgoing car.

It's likely to use a twin-turbo setup to boost output into the 450-horsepower range. And like all M cars, it will have a high rpm limit, broad power range and the crescendo of power that has been a key characteristic of previous M3 motors.

Weight-saving strategies will also be very evident in the car's structure, ranging from the extensive use of high-strength steels to the aluminum-rich suspension hardware and its crowning glory, a carbon-fiber roof.

The company is embracing lightweight carbon fiber with considerable commitment via its new BMW i3 and i8 models. For the M4 concept, at least the front splitter, the rear diffuser and even the tailpipe sleeves are fashioned from carbon fiber.

Apart from the carbon weave of its roof, the Concept M4 is arresting for the contained aggression of its styling, from the bold trio of orifices in its front apron to the power dome in its hood, the shapely extractor vents in the front fenders, the flared muscularity of its rear fenders, the under-bumper diffuser and the twin pairs of exhaust tailpipes.

A broad, sleek nose and a wide, squatting tail emphasise its muscle, as does a rising beltline that flips out of the air extractors in the front fenders. These gills serve a purpose, incorporating a so-called Air Breather that combines with an Air Curtain within the front apron to ventilate the front wheel housings and reduce drag around the 20-inch alloy wheels.

The spoiler on the trunk, meanwhile, generates more downforce than for the outgoing M3 coupe. The result is a coupe of considerable visual dynamism, finished in a striking metallic citrus hue.

Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW's group design chief, explains: "At BMW M, design is above all an expression of function. Each design element is based on the underlying technical demands of the BMW M high-performance concept. Thanks to this authenticity, the design provides a taste of what can be experienced with each model: power, precise control and superior handling — an unforgettable driving experience on the racetrack as well as on the road."

BMW has revealed little of the car's specification at this unveiling, but it's expected that the M4 will be offered with both a six-speed manual gearbox and a seven-speed paddle-shift automatic. Electrically assisted steering will also feature despite criticisms of the system's feel, although it should appear in a new tune for this M model. Carbon-ceramic brakes can eventually be expected on the options list, together with aluminum calipers that are together said to pare more than 100 pounds from the car's curb weight.

And in a new and useful departure, the M4 is also expected to offer all-wheel drive.

Edmunds says: The Concept M4 Coupe reveals all you need to know about how the upcoming coupe will look. We'll have to wait another few months to see exactly what will arrive under the hood.

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