This is the BMW Concept 4, and in BMW parlance (where “Vision” means far in the future and “Concept” means close) it likely gives us a pretty good picture of what the next 4 Series will look like.
Surprisingly, the thing BMW talked about least—and what everyone else is talking about most—is the grille, a new interpretation of the twin-kidneys that is now more of a butterfly with wings extending to the ground. It’s worth noting that in the entire press pack, there is only one head-on view—and it’s backlit, with the car in shadow. Clearly, BMW is expecting a little backlash.
Such a controversial styling element is almost a shame, because the rest of the car looks quite good.
The proportions are classic BMW coupe, but simplified. Chrome surrounding the windows accents the daylight opening, and both the squinty LED headlights and the rake of the rear window and decklid give it a clear family resemblance to the new 8 Series. Out back, low-profile taillights are tucked under the furrowed brow of the trunklid, which forms a spoiler-like shape that flows seamlessly into the quarter panels.
What makes this car all the prettier are all its 3D elements difficult to see in the photos. The headlights aren’t covered, but rather are light pipes of sorts; the taillights were given the same treatment. The wheels are works of art. Peek into the vestigial side mirror and you’ll see a BMW logo set behind glass, too.
BMW provided no details on what might power the next 4 Series, though it’s not as if we can’t guess—turbocharged four-cylinder and twin-turbo six, anyone? Still, more detail might have taken some of the discussion off the you-know-what up front. One thing is for sure: Until the production car is revealed, the concept is going to give people something to discuss ad nauseum online.