Paul Bond of the UK's Auto Express has come up with hard evidence that BMW is planning a radical shake-up of the 3 Series range. Spy shots captured by photographers in Germany, reveal the new 4 Series Coupe, the first of three standalone models that will get their own unique styling and dynamic setup.
4 Series Coupe caught in pajamas
BMW's answer to the hugely popular Audi A5, the two-door coupe will be the first model to wear the 4 Series badge when it arrives late in 2013, with a cabriolet and more practical four-door 'GranCoupe' set to follow at a later date.
While this car is heavily camouflaged, it's easy to make out the wider grille and lower front end, while at the rear the coupe gets a sleeker, more tapered look. Under the bodywork, the 4 Series will share most of its engines with the new 3 Series, with highlights including the new 242bhp TwinPower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine from the 328i and the efficient 2.0-liter diesel from the 320d. Revised versions of the company's smooth and punchy straight-six diesels are also likely to follow.
All versions of the 4 Series will get EfficientDynamics technology like stop-start and brake energy recuperation as standard, and will be available with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.The decision to divide the 3 Series range also has ramifications for the new M3, with BMW aiming to attract a wider group of buyers by offering a greater choice.
The sedan will arrive in 2013, but both the coupe and cabriolet versions – badged for the first time as M4 – will follow six months later, and given an even more driver-oriented set-up than the standard car.The 4 Series is also likely to get more equipment and personalisation than the core 3 Series range, meaning it will command a price premium.
Another new addition to the 3 Series line-up is the 3 Series GT crossover, which will be launched in 2014. This car will be larger, more comfortable and spacious, built to appeal to buyers of the 5 Series GT. It will have an extended wheelbase, with more room for backseat passengers, and a taller, bigger trunk than the standard car.—Paul Duchene
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