It ‘s old news for most who read BF but it ‘s worth mentioning considering the history that comes with the name-plate. Yes we believe that BMW will move the 3er coupe upmarket and bring a new name with it. But is it worth throwing away 30 plus years of history for a subtle change in market position? And is there symmetry in an all four door 3 Series line-up (a la the 5 series)?

BMW owns the letter 3. And on the face of it, losing that brand recognition feels like a mistake. However it ‘s when you look at the big picture of BMW ‘s model and naming strategy, it just makes sense. With BMW moving the 1 Series Convertible and Coupe to the 2 Series moniker, the 3 Series would have been the last two door coupe tied to a mass market four door product. There ‘s no reason other than heritage and brand recognition for the 3 Series coupe to remain. And BMW has shown that both of those can and sometimes need to change with time.

The current rumor is that we ‘ll see the F30 sedan and F31 wagon (which is now likely coming to the US) as 2012 models. The F30 will of course debut this fall with early Euro-bound production staring in November. Then there ‘s the F34 3 Series GT that will round out the new 3er line-up.

The 4 Series coupe should debut in late 2012 or early 2013 as a ’13 model. Predictably it will be followed by the convertible 4er (F33) in 2014 and then the Gran Coupe 4er (F35) in 2015.

The 4 Series Coupe. It could have a nice ring to it right?

But what of the M3? Would BMW dare to throw that storied name away? Stay tuned…