According to BMW’s script, the BMW M4 Concept is purely a styling exercise. The hood is closed and the windows are blacked out purposely for us to focus on the look of the concept. So we’re not going to discuss the 3.0L twin turbo inline six that’s under the hood or the 4 Series derived interior. Nor are we going to talk about the electric steering, the transmission options or the trick M5 derived diff. None of that. This my friends is where we talk purely about what this thing looks like.

The BMW M4 is of course heavily based on the 4 Series coupe. However, M will proudly point out that more than 80% of its components are unique. They will also stress that the 4 Series simply serves as the basis for this car. A shell, if you will, to create an entirely new M car that takes the spirit of the M3 and moves it into a loftier price and performance category. The results speak for themselves. Like the 4 Series, it’s hard to deny the elegance and sophistication in the M4’s shape. But what the M Division brings to the table is the hint of motorsport aggression that gives this car the dichotomy that has historically made M cars so interesting to look at.

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The Front

Gloss black. Thank you BMW. We know accept its existence when it comes to window trim. But with the M4 concept you’ve finally accepted it looks nothing short than sinister. The combination of the black grille and the splitter is stunning.

Speaking of that splitter, you have to wonder if M is hinting at a lot of carbon fiber usage on the production M4 or foreshadowing the M Performance parts that will surely be offered. But it’s not just the material of the splitter that is stunning but the shape. It’s almost wing like in its separation from the rest of the front valance.

This combined with the various (and functional) air intakes gives the front of the M4 a very motorsport-derived look. In fact you can imagine how this could have been marketed along side an F1 car had BMW stayed in the sport. The gap between the splitter and the bottom radiator intake is particular unique for a production oriented vehicle. Granted if this stays on the production M4 we’d expect it to be plastic rather than CF due to the likelihood of speedbump damage.

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The Side

The wheels dominate here at 20″ in diameter (255 / 30 / 20 in the front and 275 / 30 / 20 at the rear). The design is an evolution of the Style 343 which is standard on the M5. We’d expect that 19″ wheels will be standard on the M3 and eventually more 20″ options available with various packages and editions. All that aside what we have in front of us looks stunning. Like the 343s, the M4’s 20″ wheels are a combination of painted and clear lacquer which helps to accentuate the size and dramatic design. It works well.

Like the rest of BMW’s range the M4 has the “air curtain” system combined with “air breathers” (terrible name no?) that help to reduce drag around the front wheel opening. And like most modern turbo BMW’s the front is dominated by air intakes to bathe the engine with enough air to keep things under control despite all the complex heat generating technology under the hood.

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Visually it’s basically the air outlet on the current E9X M3 x4. We love the look but question the piece of plastic dissecting it all.

All that aside there are two big standouts in terms of successes on the side of the car in our eyes. The new side mirrors and the fat hips wrapped around the rear tires.

The mirrors are an evolution from those on the E90 but have been refined so that the top points don’t actually touch the body. The look is both more aggressive and delicate.

The rear hips on the other-hand are all aggression. While they don’t quite back the bodacious charm of the Z3 M Coupe or the 1M they move the game on a bit from the E92 and make the new M4 feel more athletic and almost more svelt than any BMW before it.

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The Back

If there’s only one WTF moment on the entire car its the back end. Like it’s from a mid-90’s CAD program the lower rear bumper is fussy at best and a complete disaster at worst. And it’s a missed opportunity when you think about successful and simple aero led designs on the RS4 or C63 Coupe are.

Otherwise we have a half-assed black rear diffuser (there must be a reason right?) and some breath-taking carbon fiber covered exhaust tips.

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The Overall

M4, we bow down to thee. Take away all the questions around forced induction, electric steering and an increase in size and you’re left with the undeniable fact that this is one breath-taking M car. M3 or not this is perhaps the most immediately attractive two door/four seat M car of all time. And in our mind it’s the dimensionally of the design, stance and the details that have culminated in something extraordinary.