Does BMW's larger kidney grille look better with a license plate attached?
The next-generation BMW 4 Series Convertible has been spied once again as prototype testing continues. While this prototype is still covered in camouflage, this time the front grille is more exposed than before.
As leaked photos have shown, the new vertical kidney grille is much larger than its predecessor's and is directly inspired by the controversial BMW Concept 4 that debuted at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show last September previewing the future design direction of the BMW 4 Series, M3, and M4. It doesn't look as massive as the concept's grille, but that could be the placement of the license plate deceiving us.
Still, this gives us hope that the production version will be toned down and the grille won't look as jarring as the design previewed by the BMW 4 Series Concept. In essence, the rest of the design makes the new 4 Series look like a smaller version of the BMW 8 Series.
Judging from the blue brake calipers, this BMW 4 Series Convertible prototype appears to be a hotter M440i model. If so, enthusiasts will be happy to know the new M440i will be offered with both RWD and AWD worldwide, but it won't be available with a manual transmission. Instead, the only transmission option will be an eight-speed automatic. If you want an old-school manual gearbox, you'll need to upgrade to the new M4.
As for engine options, the new 4 Series is expected to share the same powertrain as the 3 Series, meaning the new 430i will pack a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 255 horsepower, while the hotter M440i will get a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with 380 hp.
The same 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six will produce between 440 hp and 500 hp in the new M4. Reports suggest the new BMW 4 Series Coupe and Convertible will break cover later this year and go on sale in 2021, while the new M4 and M3 will reportedly debut next year and go on sale for the 2021 model year, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could force BMW to change those plans.