Spied on test in southern France, this is BMW's upcoming 4-series Convertible, curiously exhibiting its tow-car ability.
Sent in to CAR by readers Janet Richardson and Tony Gover, the test driver confirmed his mount was a new BMW, but refused to identify the model or allow any glimpses of the interior.
Where does the 2014 4-series fit into the BMW range?
In an attempt to bring uniformity to its nomenclature, BMW is renaming its coupe models to set them apart from their saloon brethrin. Therefore, the 3-series Coupe and Covertible will be replaced by the 4-series, and there'll be no 1-series-badged coupe or soft-top - try a 2-series instead.
It fits more harmoniously with the 6-series, which has always stood apart as a separate model from the 5-series on which it's based.
What details do we know of the new BMW 4-series?
As with the current 3-series badged cars, BMW will offer a fixed-head coupe and a folding hard-top cabriolet. Usually manufacturers use the retractable roof solution to create a best-of-both-worlds coupe/convertible, (think Renault Megane CC or Astra TwinTop) but BMW sells enough of either car to justify the twin-model approach. The 4-series' closest rival, the Audi A5, uses a fabric roof for its open-top variant.
The car in these spy shots blows its cover as the convertible with those giveaway strips along the top of the retractble roof panels, and the tell-tale shutline in the rear quarter, marking where the boot opens wide to swallow the roof.
You'll be able to buy a 4-series Coupe (codenamed F32) from summer 2013, with the F33 convertible arriving in early 2014. An M4 will follow soon after, sporting a turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine and around 450bhp. Don't worry, however - the legendary M3 badge will live on in the flagship saloon variant.
What engines can we expect in the other 4-series models?
Lower down the power scale, expect the most potent of the current 3-series family of downsized four-pot engines to see duty in the 4-series. The 328i's 245bhp petrol-drinking turbo four is sure to be a popular choice, as is the 184bhp, 280lb ft oil-burner from the 320d saloon. We'll also see six-cylinders in the form of the 330d and 335i to satisfy those who still crave a Bavarian six-pot.
BMW's Efficient Dynamics technology should see the new Fours demonstrating improved green credentials over their 3-series predecessors, thanks to BMW's eight-speed auto gearbox and adaptive settings, especially in parsimonious Eco Pro mode.
We'll find out for sure when the 4-series lands in the UK in the spring of 2014
Thanks to Janet Richardson and Tony Gover for their photographs.