Give BMW’s designers props for going all in. Unlike the amorphous blob that is the M2 Gran Coupe, the upcoming BMW M4—seen here in its thinnest-yet disguise—shows that Munich’s designers are fully embracing the giant-nostrilled grille across street and motorsport versions of the model. Both the production coupe and its GT3-class sibling will sport the snorty fascia.
In fine BMW tradition, the heart of its sportiest midsize coupe is a straight-six. BMW now confirms that this twin-turbo powerplant will generate 480 hp in “regular” M4 tune and 510 horses in the top-shelf M4 Competition. (The four-door M3 will follow this same two-tier performance arrangement.) Die-hard stick-shift fans will rejoice to hear that a six-speed manual is standard on the 480-hp M4. BMW’s chosen to offer the 510-hp Competition model exclusively with an eight-speed automatic unit (which is also an option on the standard M4.)
BMW is keen to emphasizing the M4’s race-bred pedigree. Before we are permitted to lay eyes on a camo-free M4 Coupe, however, Bavarian engineers have some “final intensive tests” to perform with the cars. Soon, we’ll get all the juicy details and go crazy on the online configurator.
How about that wild, big-winged monster with the red grille, you ask? The M4 GT3 will make a couple appearances on track this year, but it won’t officially replace the M6 GT3 as BMW’s hardest-core customer offering until 2022. Before we all collectively lose our cool yet again over this gaping grille, let’s discuss a few points. First, this is hardly the first BMW to sport a grille that could swallow a hot dog stand (see BMW’s 1933–34 303) nor is it the brand’s first octagonal silhouette (check out this 1970s concept). Second, at least the GT3 can make maximal use of the gaping front end through essential cooling.
Of course, whining about the grille is missing the big picture. Soon we will have a production M4 with a manual and nearly 50 more hp from its straight-six than its predecessor. You can’t see the exterior from the driver’s seat …