2014 BMW M4 spy shots
And whatever name you use, it's likely to be just as notorious for being a capable track weapon as previous M3s. Like the upcoming M3 Sedan (which will likely keep the M3 moniker, due to its four-door ties to the 3-Series), the M4 is expected to drop the 4.0-liter V-8 of the current M3 in favor of a turbocharged straight-six engine.
VIN information uncovered on the web indicates the M4 will get its power from a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine coded S55. That makes it sound very much like a high-performance derivative of the N55, BMW's twin-scroll turbo engine used in the 335i among others.
Power should be good at about 416 horsepower, on par with the current M3 coupe's output--but likely with much more area under the curve; that is to say: more torque. Torque is good.
Previous unconfirmed reports have suggested output of the new M six-cylinder to be at about 450 horsepower, courtesy of 3.3 liters of displacement and two--or possibly three--turbochargers. That's seeming less likely as production draws nearer.
Looking at the spy shots, we see just about what we'd expect, given the looks of the F30 3-Series sedan: a development of the current body shape, rather than a wholesale redesign. The hood, front bumper, and rear tail lights are heavily masked, revealing little of final detailing, but the overall proportions are sporty, sleek, and modern.
The lowered suspension, huge wheels and brakes, plus the quad exhaust tips all say this is a performance version of the car, but aside from these few details, little else is clear.
What else can you expect of the M4, despite the lack of definite information? Like the updated 3-Series sedan, we expect a good deal of lightening through more advanced materials, improved interior comfort and design, and--thankfully--improved gas mileage over the sweet-sounding, high-revving, but very thirsty V-8 of the current M3.
To enhance traction, the new M4 is thought to also receive an electronically controlled differential capable of delivering 100-percent lockup under the right conditions. Since the differential is electronically controlled, it should also be capable of torque vectoring to ensure maximum traction when powering out of corners. A wider track than the current M3 is also expected.
We'll keep you posted with further details, images, and videos as the car continues development and testing. Look for the debut of the 2014 BMW M4 sometime in late 2013, after the launch of the standard 4-Series.