BMW's new 4-Series shapes up

3 May, 2011 11:10am Jack Rix

‘3-Series GT’ to be given new badge and is due for Frankfurt show debut

It's an all-new name for an all-new car – meet the BMW 4-Series! That’s the fresh badge which will adorn a stunning new five-door hatch, Auto Express has learned.

Based on the next-generation 3-Series, due in 2012 in saloon and Touring form, our spies have already snapped the new car out testing. That’s let us produce these illustrations, which show how 
the production model will look. 

But instead of carrying the 3-Series GT badge as was initially thought, BMW will sit the model further apart, pitching it between the new 3-Series and the 5-Series.

While it gets a new name, it will follow the formula set down by its bigger brother, the 5-Series GT, with a more premium experience than the car on which it’s based. There will be a raised seating position for those in the rear, plus the option of two or three seats in the back. It will also get a two-stage tailgate that can be hinged either at the bootlid or opened like a hatchback. 


The model will complement the 3-Series range, which is set to include a saloon, coupé, estate and cabriolet, and take the fight directly to Audi’s A5 Sportback. 

From the front, the 4-Series will borrow heavily from the 5-Series with its wide kidney grille and slim headlights. Towards the back, the swooping roofline will provide ample headroom, but also a sporty profile – a look helped by the short overhangs.  

As with the 3-Series Touring, the 4-Series will be based on a stretched version of BMW’s new rear-wheel-drive platform to maximise interior space. MacPherson front suspension and a multi-link rear layout, as well as the latest generation electric power-steering system, will maintain the level of driver involvement BMW customers expect, but with the emphasis more on comfort than the 3-Series. 

All-wheel-drive xDrive versions will be available too, while the engine choice will feature the latest four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel units, including the new 245bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol introduced on the X1. 

BMW is developing a three-cylinder petrol engine, too, capable of 75mpg and producing less than 100g/km of CO2. But the firm is still deliberating whether to fit it to the new 3 and 4-Series.

Our sources say the firm will wait until after the 3-Series to launch the 4-Series, so expect it to go on sale in 2014.

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This is getting silly, might as well do a 2 series and an 8, then 9 & 10 to complete the numbers.. what is the differnence between GM & a BMW now in terms of the huge range.. Audi will likely follow suit ...
BMW does not belong in the luxury category any more.. just too common..

I agree, maybe that is the reason they bought Rolls Royce. Anybody can buy a BMW now, they are common as muck and many people that buy them for the badge do it thinking it would make them classier or bring them upmarket but deep down they are still a snotty nose classless loser.

I like the concept but the looks are so so. I think Audi's A5 & A7 Sportback models are much better looking than this.

Recently clawed your way into the middle classes?

I like the idea of a 3 Series-based hatchback.

However, please Mr BMW, don't make it to bloody big. Your vehicles are getting far too clumsily large. Please remember the UK is your biggest market, not the US.

Bland, if this is anything to go by


Audi will follow suit? I think they set the trend for oversized model ranges!

A1, A3 (3dr, sportwagon, cabriolet), Q3, A4 (saloon, estate, cabriolet), A5 (saloon, coupe, cabriolet), Q5, A6 (saloon, estate), A7, A8, Q9, TT, R8...oh, and let's not forget the S, RS, and allroad versions! Did I miss any out?

the car people are fixing the mistakes created by cars that keep growing in size. Which cars are the replacement for the Ford Sierra and the BMW 3 series of the 80s. Mondeo and current 3? Then why are they twice as big? Ford too will probably need to create a car to fill the gap between the Focus and the Mondeo too. The Focus is having to go back to replacing the Escort, while the mondeo is really a Granada. Where is the Sierra? Same thing for BMW. Cars need to stay in their size categories, which are mini, small car (escort), medium (sierra), family (granada-mondeo) and luxury limo (7 series- Scorpio- etc). You cover those classes you wont need to keep switching so much you car makers you!

Car makers all have a much bigger range of models than they used to because it's cost-effective (most cars are pizza cars - same floorpan, different body).

Why shouldn't manufacturers offer a wide choice of models? It means we can each choose a car that suits us rather than the best (or least-worst) compromise. That's why modern superminis have abandoned the packaging war and gone for style - if you need interior space or fleixibility the same manufacturer (or one of heir badge-engineered clones) usually offers a mini-MPV.

It's inevitable that every time a model is replaced the new one will be bigger - if it doesn't offer more interior space and comfort then people will complain the older model was better. The end result is manufacturers have to fit a smaller model into their range. The Polo is bigger than the Mk1 Golf so VW had to make the Lupo & Fox. Every manufacturer is doing it - how many generations before BMW have to make a 0 series?

As for size categories - why? Who cares if you car is small, medium or somewhere between? The only reason to fit models into categories is that those that don't aren't usually a sales success because buyers are confused. The Citroen BX and Volvo 440 spring to mind - too big to be Escort competitors and too small to be Mondeo equivalents. Personally I thought they were both pretty much the ideal size of car for me - big enough to carry 4 people and luggage in reasonable comfort (most small hatches were too cramped in the back) but not too massive to park in town.

Long live huge model ranges, consumer choice and cars that don't fit conveniently into categories!

Same old, same old.
Another lack lustre design from BMW.
The ghost of Bangle still seems to be around the design team.

Presumably next year they'll be announcing a 3.5-series, which will be 2 cms higher than a 3-series, with the grill off a 4-series (the 5-series grill now redesigned to separate it from the 4-series). There will also be 9-series for those that don't find the 5-series ugly enough and a 0.5-series for Wayne and Chardonnay junior to drive up and down the drive.

BMW = bland. I'd rather look at Ford.

Cars 'grow up' generally speaking, which allows for other model names to be introduced without replacing a popular model. An example is the Clio, which is much bigger than the original model, but the size increase allowed the Twingo to come in.

It's because most people keep demanding them.

Gone are the days when a family of four were all happy in their 4-door saloon, they insist on taking so much stuff with them whenever they go out that they think only a large SUV or an MPV is big enough!!

Next time you see a young couple with a baby or small child in the car park, just have a look at how much unnecessary bits and bobs they're carrying around in their boot on the pretence they might need it.

Quite simply, if people didn't carry around all the junk in their cars they wouldn't need to be so big. It might help the environment too.

Thinking laterally on this seemingly pointless addition to the BMW range. Has anyone considered what the effect is collectively on our insurance premiums due to manuafcturers vieing with one another for yet another tiny niche? It probably means that insurance premiums for everyone take a hike because of the increasing multiplicity of parts that might be needed in the event of a prang!!

All you BMW bashers really make me chuckle :-)

All you BMW bashers really make me chuckle :-)

All you BMW bashers really make me chuckle :-)

Upon reading the title 'BMW 4-Series', i was expecting to find a Four dour coupe similar to the Z4, not some lazy, boring copy of a 1-series saloon.

This car is very boring to look at, gosh, it's making eyes sore. Chuck it in the bin and arrest the design team behind it.

We already have enough BMW cars of this shape (1-series saloon, 3-series, 5-series, 7-series).....for Fek sake do something different.
A Z4 styling running on a similar platform to the new 4-wheel drive ferrari hatchback, would have done the 4-series justice, not this vomit i see on my web page.

if BMW have run out of ideas, they can email me: and i'll help them out.

This car is a waste of space, i bet when parked next to 5 series it's millimetres smaller with identical interior.please BMW stop only catering for th bland U.S of Aaaaaaaaargh! not every country is as bland as them

BMW can not give away the GT5 in the states, and this 4 series may linger on the sales floor too. What is being requested is a 1 series 4 door (for those that want a small car), or the sport wagons that are not offered here anymore. All though both GT5 and 4 make sense for the family types plus the gear that (in the USA) is being required to be carrie for their baby monsters. Their only choise in BMW line? SAV. But then maybe they will go for the 4 series if it's badged a GT3? I know that they love the new released X3.

@hotredman You sir get the prize for the most retarded comment ever.

i assume that as i own'd a BMW i was a 'snotty nosed classless loser' let me assure you that i was not.

you continue to drive your Larda. No wonder the world passes by you with an attitude like that!

Back to the car...I for one am particularly looking forward to the prospect of hatchback BMW other than the 1 Series, which i must admit i'm not the biggest fan of!

If anyone buys a BMW for the badge, they are an idiot. I bought a BMW because, overall, they are thoroughly engineered cars.

kwashic is spot on: As I've remarked before, I was parked outside our local Tesco superstore a couple of months back and watched an old Mondeo mk2 pull up behind a Focus ST in the 'pickup' lane and the Focus dwarfed the Mondeo.

As for the 4 Series, it's all very 'ho-hum'.

don't think there is a point to this type of car. just flooding the market with pointless cars. they need to go back to their roots that made them popular in the 1st place

Assuming every features listed above are true, I would bet heavily that there won't be any "4-series" in major Asian markets - as the number 4 is associated with "deaths" in Chinese and other south-eastern Asian cultures.

If BMW were to develop a smaller 5er GT, probably they would do a 4-series in EU/US, but definitely not in Asia - otherwise it's suicide.

it looks ok, but just buy the new 2.2 litre jaguar xf, more class for your hard earned cash !

There was a time when I wondered why you would want to drive anything else other than a BMW (I list a 1997 320i touring, a 1999 328i saloon, a 1999 540i and a 2001 535i Sport as models I have owned). Now, I don't feel that way at all! No longer exclusive, no longer good to look at, no longer amongst the most reliable and no longer user friendly interiors.
I switched to Audi but now drive a Honda and a Mazda. The competition between the Germans is out of control and their products have become uglier as a result.

Fill in the gaps BMW, complete your line of utterly uninspiring and boring cars aimed solely at company car fleet managers. Take these god awful cars of the road please!!!

Its ugly and boring and yes BMW are now the main stream as the 3 series outsells the Mondeo.

@ kwashic
Each tim e a new car is released they go up a size to the predecessor.

So in fords case the the Granada has gone because the Mondeo is the same size, the focus is the the same as the Sierra and the fiesta is the escort, then they have to introduce a new small model in this case the KA in BMW's the 1 series.

This is just BMW now doing a hatch 3 series to compete with the Mondeo hatch.

Why are poeple falling for this 'GT' nonsense? Nothing wrong with the car, but is just a hatchback for goodness sake. Big deal.

Call it a 5 door 3 series, base it on the 3 series completely non of this raised rear seat extra plush nonsense, give it a rear wiper like a proper hatchback and more resolved styling and it will sell by the bucket load, especially in the UK, we have never really been fans of family saloons. If BMW, Audi and VW made proper 5 door A4, 3 series and Passats I predict the sale of 4 doors would decline dramatically. Give us what the people want, not what you think we want, the failure of the 5GT should be warning enough.

Call it a 5 door 3 series, base it on the 3 series completely non of this raised rear seat extra plush nonsense, give it a rear wiper like a proper hatchback and more resolved styling and it will sell by the bucket load, especially in the UK, we have never really been fans of family saloons. If BMW, Audi and VW made proper 5 door A4, 3 series and Passats I predict the sale of 4 doors would decline dramatically. Give us what the people want, not what you think we want, the failure of the 5GT should be warning enough.

... because you're falling on deaf ears - BMW owners and supporters genuinely don't realise they're wrong. That's why they are what they are.

Once the gradual BMW transition towards front wheel drive is complete (the green shoots are there) and BMW stylists stop using tracing paper on pictures of old BMWs when designing new models, BMW should thrive. I'm rooting for them. They just need to leave their current customer base behind.

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Maybe cars are getting bigger because of all you lard asses out there. Why do people bash BMW's, I've had two 5's a 96' and 03' both brilliant and a 99 728, the best car I've owned. Put a lexus badge on it and you whingers will be saying positive vibes. Anyway, "always with the negative waves moriarty, always with the negative waves. t

why would anyone want to drive a car with grill design inspired by Hitlers mustache... Maybe that's why BMW drivers are by far the most arrogant on the road

BMW have a great market right now. The diesel engined cars are the best in the market. Excellent fuel economy, huge performance and low road tax banding.
It looks different, as the GT does, if I was in the market for a motorway eating family car, paid for by my company this would be on my list.
Hatchback versatility, build quality and if going by the success of the GT is anything to go by nobody in my street, possibly in my village will have one too.
It will also promise to be a much more entertaining drive than the equivalent Audi or Mercedes.

where can i sit my pension in this car?

I can hardly wait for the bmw Series 24 to arrive along with the 1/2 ton , 1 ton 3 ton, 5 ton ,20 ton and full range of travel trailers and motorhomes , have I left anything out ; if I have they will fill in the cracks.

Just not as good!


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