BMW will replace the 3-series coupe with the 4-series badge for the two-door variant of its newly revealed 3-series saloon. The logic? To nudge 2013's 3-series coupe replacement upmarket a notch, much like Audi did with its A5 (essentially an A4 coupe).
Munich made an eleventh hour decison not to use the 4-series moniker for 2006's E92, fearing a perceived weakening of its core model's market position and lower sales numbers. But strategists are now so confident this is the way to go that the future BMW 1-series coupes and convertibles will similarly be known as the 2-series.
F32, the coupe variant of the 4-series, arrives first, going on sale in mid-2013. The F33 convertible, still expected to feature a folding hard-top, will be available in spring 2014. They will be joined in 2015 by an A5 Sportback-rivalling four-door coupe (F35), BMW's first foray into this field.
The new BMW 4-series coupe all looks a bit, well, familiar...
Indeed it does, but pre- and post-Bangle era BMWs tend to evolve successful styling themes rather than venturing into wild new ground, and the 4-series continues this trend. These latest spy shots, showing the coupe wrapped in a 1990s magic eye-like disguise, suggest the silhouette will be familiar to current 3-series coupe patrons whilst blending in elements from the new (F30) 3-series saloon.
Frameless side windows, bespoke, rakish bodywork and a more aggressive front end with the new-style exposed, three-dimensional BMW double kidney grille are the styling highlights.
Vertical slots in the bumpers generating so-called air curtains which effectively reduce turbulence in the critical wheelhouse area, significantly aid a smooth airflow across its surfaces. Despite the convertible featuring four fully retractable windows and no B-posts, engineers' insistence for rigidity in the 4-series coupe has ensured the current set-up prevailed.
Does this mean I'll be able to drive up the M4 in an M4?
BMW's board is currently wrangling over whether to ditch the famous M3 badge for the flagship 4-series models but logic dictates it surely will. The M3 badge will continue to live on with the saloon version anyway. Both it and the M4 are expected to drop the current thirsty V8 powerplant in exchange for a tri-turbo 3.2-litre in-line six, pumping out some 450bhp.
Lesser 4-series versions are expected to be available with both rear and xDrive four-wheel drive. BMW's famous straight six will lose prominance in the model mix to a new range of 'TPT' twin-turbo, four-cylinder petrol and diesel units of 2.0-litre capacity.
The full line-up is expected to be made up of:
• 420i 2.0 184bhp
• 428i 2.0 245bhp
• 430i 3.0 272bhp
• 435i 3.0 306bhp
• 425d 2.0 204bhp
• 430d 3.0 245bhp
• 435d 3.0 292bhp
What about more eco-friendly BMW 4-series models?
Carbon obsessives may eventually be offered a range extender layout based around the 1.5-litre three-cylinder, but the plug-in hybrid which debuts in the X5/X6 in 2014 is unlikely to filter down to the 4-series coupe before 2017.