Photos: BMW 4 Series concept revealed before Detroit Auto Show debut

BMW will unveil the much-anticipated coupe version of its 3 Series at the Detroit Auto Show in January. For the first time, the two-door version will be badged 4 Series and, although the car in BMW’s photos is technically a concept, it probably won’t shed any of its good looks.

Like the previous 3 Series Coupe, the 4 Series borrows styling elements from other Bimmers, and that seems to be working for BMW. The coupe marries the aggressive front end from the current F30 3 Series sedan with some styling cues from the larger 6 Series Coupe.

Like the F30, the 4 Series concept is much less restrained than its predecessor, and that’s a good thing. The standard three-box profile is still three, but the details are a little more exciting. BMW says the 4 Series will be lower and wider than the previous 3 Series Coupe.

Some areas, such as the wheels and the gaping front air intakes, may be toned down for the production version. However, most of what we see here looks completely feasible, including the mirrors which, unlike the ones on most concept cars, are roughly normal size.

Inside, the interior is swathed in clay-colored leather, and even has braided leather cupholders and floor mats. The production 4 Series will probably have more plastic in it than this concept; no one wants to clean coffee stains out of leather cupholders.

Like its big brother, the 6 Series, the 4 Series gains an even-numbered designation (do numbers really count as names?) since it is a two-door model. This is a major change for the 3 Series, which has always been available in multiple body styles as one model line.

The 4 Series will still be a two-door (expect a convertible later on) 3 Series, which means it will probably pack BMW’s turbocharged four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines. We’ll have to see if the engine start-stop and Eco Pro software mode migrate from the sedan to the coupe. An M4, which will replace the current M3 Coupe, is also in the works.

After the 4 Series concept’s debut in Detroit, the production 4 Series is expected to make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013.

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