Don’t believe the concept name, this is your new 3-Series coupe. After being hit for six by the Audi A5-which up-ended this coupe market by introducing an altogether different body style to the saloon A4 - BMW has responded by repositioning its coupe offering of the 3-Series.
That starts by giving it an altogether new name, so for the first time we’re getting a 4-numbered BMW, and in future, all coupe BMWs will be even numbers. But while you might be looking at the pictures and thinking that this is just a 3-Series saloon with two doors, in the metal it’s a different story.
The 4-Series is longer, wider and less tall than the saloon and to our eyes looks like a compact 6-Series. That’s no bad thing at all. But, I hear you say, it’s a concept, so who cares. Well, BMW’s called it a concept, but the reality is that 95 per cent of what you see here will make it to a production car that hits the road later this year - a bit like the company's i-series electric cars also due out in 2013. The wheels will be an inch or two smaller, some of the intake craziness at the front and rear will be smaller, but everywhere else, what you see is what you get.
Inside, it gets better - trimmed out in a BMW individual package of tobacco leather and matte grain wood, it features a rather special wicker-like cross stitch on the seat and door trims. The layout in here is as you’ll see in the production car too - it pretty much uses the architecture of the 3-Series saloon, albeit with a bit of a flourish on the centre console as the surface twists up into the dash.
Beyond that, it’s typical BMW good news complete with iDrive and its rotary centre knob and a large centre screen. BMW was also showing some high-quality graphics on the centre screen for tyre pressure monitoring, torque output and such, which we liked a lot.
Expect the 4-Series to cost about three grand more than the equivalent 3-Series saloon when it goes on sale and to be offered with the same range of (predominantly turbocharged) petrol and diesel engines.
Oh, and living up to that ultimate driving machine tag, we’d be surprised if it wasn’t the best thing in its class to drive. All in all, it looks set to be another annoyingly good BMW.
The difference with this one, is that you might actually glance twice when you see one on the road, because in the metal this car has a striking design quality that – cliché though it is – the pictures don’t do justice to.