Last night we were invited to an exclusive first viewing of the BMW M4 Concept: a stunning vehicle that shows the potential of the newly released 4 Series Coupe.
The BMW representatives, that included CEO Ludwig Willisch, skirted around specific details about the concept, aware it closely echoes the forthcoming F30 M3 sedan we'll see later this year.
They did discuss the concept's signature M elements, including its bulged hood, with its lines flowing into the carbon roof and back to the CSL-style carbon trunk.
It also has M "boomerang" vents in the flared front fenders as well as four tailpipes in a carbon diffuser. In this instance, the exhaust featured carbon fiber finishers with cut-outs to highlight the laser-etched M logo.
Black trim can be found on the window surrounds, sculpted aero mirrors and the twin-spoke kidney grilles. They echo the 20" split-five-spoke wheels that wore 255/35 front and 275/30 R20 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
The wheels sit in the widest fenders ever offered on a BMW - until the 4 Series arrived, every previous BMW was wider at its door handles than the rear fenders. However, the F32 4 Series is widest at its fenders, and the M4 is 40mm wider again - about 18mm either side.
The 4 Series also has the lowest center of gravity ever seen on a BMW, yet the M4 - with its carbon roof, lower ride height, etc - will reduce that number further, endowing it with extraordinary handling prowess.
So that was the commonly known information, but we were also able to confirm from our sources that the M4 Concept is the M4 production car. Differences will be few and minor, probably losing its carbon tailpipes, getting standard 19" wheels and smaller brakes than the six-piston Brembos with giant carbon-ceramic rotors on the concept.
It was privately confirmed by several sources that the production car will have a 450hp 3.0L six-cylinder twin-turbo engine based on the production N55 block and providing phenomenal torque. However, there was no confirmation available that a manual transmission would be offered. US representatives are confident we'll see a clutch pedal but their German colleagues were less assured. This may indicate the US will get a specific manual option, like the current M5 and M6, with Europe restricted to the M-DCT dual-clutch transmission.
Another interesting revelation was that the four-door M3 will have a more aggressive look - sharing the coupe's front spoiler, hood bulge, etc but it will get the doors from the regular F30. This means the wider rear fenders will flare from behind the rear doors, creating dramatic lines, whereas the M4 rear fenders have a gentler flare starting from behind the front door.
We asked why we were seeing an M4 concept ahead of the M3 and the explanation was simply that we already know what to expect from the sedan. So BMW wanted people to be prepared for the new M4, to be in no doubt about its existence and become comfortable with the name.
They also chose to debut the car at Pebble Beach both to recognize the importance of the US market for this vehicle and in order to not overshadow other unveilings at the Frankfurt Auto Show, such as the i3.
We also learnt more about the upcoming M235i and M2, which we'll reveal in a later post.