The new BMW M4 has been unveiled in concept form. Be in no doubt, though, that the production car will look almost identical to the BMW Concept M4 Coupe, as it's been clunkily named.
Effectively the new, F30-generation BMW M3, the iconic model's name has changed to BMW M4 in line with the 3-series coupe being renamed the 4-series for 2013. The M3 name should continue on the bootlid of a heated up 3-series saloon, though.
The concept is officially just a styling exercise for now, with no tech details revealed. It looks - as expected - like a more butch 4-series, though there are numerous features worth noting. A host of CFRP (carbonfibre reinforced plastic) features, including the front splitter, rear diffuser and roof, the latter a nod to the old M3 and current M6, and wearing a lovely M Division blue and red tricolour stripe. There are also 20in twin-spoke alloy wheels, a host of air intakes and the trademark side mirror design that M3s have traditionally possessed. Its 'Aurum Dust' colour scheme is also an unsubtle nod to the Phoenix Yellow so often seen on the E46 M3 coupe.
What we do know, though, is that the new BMW M3/M4 will be the fastest ever. Top speed is likely to be limited to 155mph, but rumours suggest it could top 190mph with the removal of the limiter or an optional performance pack. The new car is expected to produce a maximum power figure of around 430bhp - a small rise over the current M3’s 414bhp. However, the new car is expected to weigh less than the E90 M3, and will deliver more torque thanks to a turbocharged engine replacing the revvy naturally aspirated V8 we currently see in the M3.
Nothing is certain about the engine type, but a revised version of BMW’s single turbo 3-litre six-cylinder engine, albeit with another turbo, is the most likely candidate. Previous rumours had suggested a derivative of the twin-turbo V8 found in the BMW M5 detuned from 552bhp as well as a triple-turbo six-cylinder petrol engine - a world first.
Acceleration from 0-60 is expected to be close to supercar levels - expect around 4.0sec and a 0-100 time of around 9.0sec.
Like the new Porsche 911 GT3, the new BMW M3 is likely to lose the manual gearbox option and gain a paddle shift DCT twin-clutch transmission with seven or even eight speeds. The combination of turbocharging and the DCT gearbox is likely to improve the claimed mpg fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures. Like all BMW M3s, the new car will be rear-wheel drive and sport a locking differential.
The M4 will be a coupe and a convertible, while the M3 name will only appear on the saloon version. An estate version will not appear, however a more expensive M4 version of the Gran Coupe, to shadow the M6 Gran Coupe, is highly possible.
The current E90 M3 coupe costs £54,945; the new car is likely to edge past £60,000 and after the M4 Concept's debut at Pebble Beach in California, the production version (which we'd wager looks little different) will apparently be unveiled at the 2014 Detoroit motor show in January before sales start in spring.