Before the year is out, the long awaited next-generation BMW M3 and M4 will debut, bringing new tech and a new bodystyle: Autocar has info on an M4 Gran Coupe. In 2014, M GmbH sales chief Jörg Bartels told Cars Guide in Australia, "It was definitely considered, but there is no plan to build an M4 Gran Coupe." At the time, it didn't make sense to upend production logistics with a niche model for a car barely a year old. Since then, appetite for the standard 4 Series Gran Coupe in the U.S. and China has put the sales mix at roughly 50% for the four-door, the coupe and droptop splitting the remainder about evenly.
That's why rumors of an M version of the compact four-door coupe have bubbled continuously since early 2018, and when it came to decide form factors for the coming generation, a potential M4 Gran Coupe "easily eclipsed a proposal for an M3 Touring in an internal shootout."
The new M3 and M4 will put two engines to use, the less potent being the S52 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six producing 473 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. That mill will offer a six-speed manual and come in rear-wheel drive. The other engine is the new S58 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder with 503 hp and 442 lb-ft. — the same motor as in the new X3 M and X4 M — sending power to all wheels through an eight-speed automatic with a rear-drive mode mimicking the current M5. It's said the M4 GC will come with the S58; it's not clear if the sedan will also get the S52.
Engineers have put work into the whole 4 Series lineup to put more dynamic space between it and the 3 Series. The CLAR structure underpinning the range gets additional stiffening measures such as stouter front strut towers for more precise steering and suspension response.
The top of the M4 lineup will be the battery-electric i4 sedan based on the 4 Series GC, the most powerful trim said to crank 523 hp and as much as 600 lb-ft. from two electric motors fed by an 80-kWh battery. A more efficient model will lower output to focus on range, promising 373 miles on the WLTP cycle, outdoing the 348-mile WLTP range for the Tesla Model 3 Long Range.
The 4 Series launches later this year first as a coupe, then cabriolet, then Gran Coupe. The M4 coupe and convertible are anticipated to debut this year — spy shooters have caught coupe and convertible prototypes testing, but the M4 Gran Coupe has stayed out of sight and might not show until 2022.