It's an all-new name for an all-new car – meet the BMW 4-Series! That’s the fresh badge which will adorn a stunning new five-door hatch.
Based on the next-generation 3-Series, due in 2012 in saloon and Touring form, spies have already snapped the new car out testing. That’s let us produce these illustrations, which show how the production model will look.
But instead of carrying the 3-Series GT badge as was initially thought, BMW will sit the model further apart, pitching it between the new 3-Series and the 5-Series.
While it gets a new name, it will follow the formula set down by its bigger brother, the 5-Series GT, with a more premium experience than the car on which it’s based. There will be a raised seating position for those in the rear, plus the option of two or three seats in the back. It will also get a two-stage tailgate that can be hinged either at the bootlid or opened like a hatchback.
The model will complement the 3-Series range, which is set to include a saloon, coupé, estate and cabriolet, and take the fight directly to Audi’s A5 Sportback.
From the front, the 4-Series will borrow heavily from the 5-Series with its wide kidney grille and slim headlights. Towards the back, the swooping roofline will provide ample headroom, but also a sporty profile – a look helped by the short overhangs.
As with the 3-Series Touring, the 4-Series will be based on a stretched version of BMW’s new rear-wheel-drive platform to maximise interior space. MacPherson front suspension and a multi-link rear layout, as well as the latest generation electric power-steering system, will maintain the level of driver involvement BMW customers expect, but with the emphasis more on comfort than the 3-Series.
All-wheel-drive xDrive versions will be available too, while the engine choice will feature the latest four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel units, including the new 245bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol introduced on the X1.
BMW is developing a three-cylinder petrol engine, too, capable of 75mpg and producing less than 100g/km of CO2. But the firm is still deliberating whether to fit it to the new 3 and 4-Series.es.