Mere days after we saw a prototype version of the all-new BMW M4 prancing around in test mule form comes its hardtop sibling, which, not surprisingly, is also decked in full camo regalia. To be fair, this isn’t the first time that the BMW M4 Coupe was spotted in the wild.

Back in December, we caught a glimpse of the sports coupé being unloaded from a car transporter. That sighting didn’t amount to much, but this fresh batch of spy photos shows the M4 Coupe — still wrapped in heavy camouflage — in its more natural state, engaged in test runs in and around the streets of Germany.

Just like its roofless sibling, the all-new BMW M4 Coupe is set to debut sometime this summer ahead of its market launch at the end of the year. But before any of that happens, BMW will continue doing test runs of the M4, hopefully with fewer camo wraps in the succeeding sessions.

Update 4/28/2020: The BMW M4 Coupe was spied testing once again, and this time we’ve gotten a look at the interior. Check it out in our special Spy Shots section below!

Spy Shots

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Testing as it Moves Closer to Production

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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2021 BMW M4 Coupe Interior Spyshots
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Our second spotting of the BMW M4 Coupe hasn’t exposed a whole lot of new info. We already know it’s going to sport the massive and ridiculous grille that we saw on the standard 4 Series Coupe Mules, but we suspect the front end and rear end will be even more aggressive. It’s clearly not as far into development as the base model, though, so don’t expect to see production-ready cues for at least another 6 months to a year.

The real takeaway here is the interior shot that you see above. There’s a lot there that we expected – like the fat steering wheel big digital displays on the dash (not the computer monitor, obviously) – but the new spy shot gives us one big piece of information: The BWW M4 Coupe will be offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

Exterior

  • Could wear massive grille from BMW Concept 4
  • New headlights
  • Aggressive bumpers
  • Flared fenders
  • M badges
  • Decklid spoiler
  • New taillights
2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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Our buddy Ciprian covered the spy photos of the BMW M4 Convertible in great detail and if you read that, most of the observations you’ll see by looking at the spy photos of the M4 Coupe will reveal the same things. Granted, none of these observed design elements are set in stone until BMW reveals the two M4s sans any camouflage, but there is still a smattering of clues that you can identify if you look at the spy photos of the M4 Coupe close enough.

Take the front section for example. It’s been the source of a lot of discussion from BMWniks, specifically as it relates to the design of the kidney grille that BMW plans to use on the M4

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There have been rumors that the controversial grille from the BMW 4 Concept will finally make it to production. I can’t stress this enough. It’s an ugly interpretation of an iconic design. It’s abhorrent and I pray BMW smartens up and ditches the grille design in favor of the classic look that we all love. Unfortunately, that’s not our call so the best we can do is hope that Bimmer execs heed the people’s calls.

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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Give Bimmer credit for this part. If the all-new M4 Coupe is sporting the new kidney grille, the black panels covering the area are doing a great job hiding what’s underneath. Even the way those panels are cut suggests that the M4 is sporting the traditional Bimmer kidney grille. Perhaps BMW is still mulling over whether to use the “new” kidney grille on the new M4. Here’s to hoping that’s the case. The same holes we spotted in the lower front bumper of the M4 Convertible test mule can also be found on the M4 Coupe. This could hint that there could be fake bumper vents in the center. But it could also hint at the presence of a grille underneath, and if that grille is sitting that low in the M4 Coupe’s front fascia, well, we know what that could be.

One thing — make that two things — that we can get excited about is the new headlight setup of the M4 Coupe.

Bimmer does a good job hiding the overall look of the headlights, but it’s easy to see that they’re noticeably thinner and potentially more aggressive than the ones worn by the current M4. Likewise, the vents on opposite ends of the bumper should remain appropriately large to help cool the engine sitting underneath that hood.

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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The side profile of the M4 test mule doesn’t depart from what we’re used to. The shoulder line continues to exude an aura of masculinity, rising from the top of the front wheel arch and extending all the way to the rear haunches. The body lines below are less pronounced, but they should also add depth to the overall look of the new M4 Coupe.

The rear section is also heavily covered in wraps, but you can see the diffuser-integrated quad tailpipes very clearly. You can also see parts of the taillight, and, in particular, the LED strips that look similar to the ones in the Concept 4. Hints of a decked spoiler can also be gleaned.

The rest of the rear section looks about as clean as you’d expect from the BMW M4. There are no excessive design bits that ruin the overall identity of the coupe, or at least that’s what we can tell so far. And in case you’re wondering what those weird yellow spots that are scattered throughout the test mule, those spots make up a new and presumably exclusive color finish that will be available to the new M4. It’s called "Sao Paulo Hue" and from the little of it that we’re seeing, we’re already excited to see what it’s going to look like on the M4.

Interior

  • 10.25-inch infotainment display
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Bucket seats
  • Clean and laid out center stack
  • Merino leather comes standard
2018 BMW M4 High Resolution Interior
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There are no spy photos of the BMW M4 Coupe’s interior so that’s a bit of a bummer. Previous spy photos of the new 4 Series, however, have shown that the new 4er will look similar to the cabin of the 3 Series, and if that’s the case, the M4’s cabin shouldn’t be too far of a departure from the 4 Series’ interior.

It is a bit curious that BMW would be satisfied with similar-looking interiors, especially when you consider that part of Bimmer’s goals for the 4 Series, and the M4, by extension, is to give the nameplate a unique identity that’s separate of the 3 Series and its own family of models.

The good news is that even with the similarly styled interiors, there should still be enough aesthetic differences to recognize one cabin from another. Part of what separates the 4 Series’ interior from the 3 Series is the size of the infotainment display. Not only does it sit higher on the dashboard, but with a size of 10.25 inches, it’s also bigger than the infotainment display you’ll find in the 3 Series. The positioning of the infotainment system up in the dashboard should also clear some room in the trapezoidal center stack or the air-conditioning vents and the temperature controls.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupé Interior Spyshots Exterior
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Mirroring the 4 Series yet again, the M4’s infotainment display will likely be joined by a digital instrument cluster that’s just as big as the ones that we’ve already seen on a handful of BMW’s new models. Its digital nature provides a modern splash to the proceedings and the sheer size of the panel creates enough room for navigation maps and performance data.

How about the seats?

Since this is the M4 Coupe we’re talking about, don’t expect standard seats to come in this setup. Instead, bucket-style sports seats wrapped in leather are almost sure things

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Merino leather should come standard, covering most of the interior surface of the high-performance coupe, including the aforementioned bucket seats, dashboard, door panels, and center console. Those who prefer something a bit more premium can choose from what feels like an endless list of options for the M4. Semi-aniline leather and Alcantara inserts are typically the most popular choices, though there are more options available beyond those. This is, after all, BMW we’re talking about.

2018 BMW M4 High Resolution Interior
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On the tech side of things, the new M4 should come equipped with BMW’s new Intelligent Personal Assistant. It’s one of a suite of tech features that will be available to the performance coupe. Those who are familiar with Mercedes’ MBUX system will recognize the similarities that Bimmer’s tech provides. Not only does it bring next-level connectivity, but, more importantly, it puts BMW on even standing with its fiercest rival in this department.

Drivetrain

  • 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine (S58)
  • Up to 503 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque in Competition trim
  • 3.7 seconds from 0 to 60 mph
  • 174 mph top speed in Competition trim
2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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All the buzz surrounding the new BMW M4 revolves around what kind of kidney grille it’s going to wear. But just as important to that plot is the engine that you’ll see once you pop the hood open. Now, reports have it that the M4 will share the same S58 engine that you can see in the X3 M and X4 M crossovers.

BMW has kept mum on the veracity of these reports, but if they’re accurate, it’s possible that we will see the next-generation M4 packing as much as 473 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque.

Do the math and you’re looking at an increase of 48 horsepower and 67 pound-feet of torque over the current M4 that’s still out in the market today.

Expound those figures to cover the M4 Competition, and the next-generation M4 will still have more power at its disposal than the current M4 Competition, which comes with 444 horsepower. The more you see and understand what this bump in power means, the more realize that those reports might be more accurate than you’d imagine.

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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Likewise, the M4 Competition will also be available in the next-generation M4. The torque output will likely stay where it is at 442 pound-feet, but the horsepower is reportedly set at 503 horsepower. That’s an extra 59 horsepower that will become available to the next-generation M4 Competition. It’s easy to look at these reported figures and crown the next-generation M4 as a worthy next-generation offering, but if you really think about it, we’re not just talking about the next-gen model in the context of the model it’s replacing and the Competition package that comes with it.

If the new BMW M4 Competition’s 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine does produces 503 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, it would have more power on hand compared to the current-generation versions of the BMW M4 CS and M4 GTS.

Those performance-spec models currently produce 453 horsepower and 493 horsepower, respectively.

Complementing the expected increase in output for the next-generation M4 are rumors that the sports coupe will be available with either a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or a six-speed manual with the latter set to be available as an option. In the same breath, the next-gen M4 will also be available in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the latter of which will also be available as an option.

As if all these reported improvements aren’t enough, you should also be excited about one other thing about the next-generation BMW M4: performance. Nothing is clear at this point, but with all the changes that are expected to arrive — a new chassis and an improved suspension setup should also be part of the new M4 experience — it’s not unreasonable to imagine that the new BMW M4 will able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in as quick as 3.8 seconds for the “standard” model and 3.7 seconds for the M4 Competition. Top speed will remain at 155 mph, but if you want that extra burst of speed, you can avail the optional M Driver’s Package and the 174-mph top speed it’s offering.

Prices

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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We won’t know how much BMW is going to price the next-generation M4, but we do know that the current M4 starts at $69,150. Given all the improvements that are expected to come with the incoming model, the next-generation M4 will likely start at around $72,000 with the M4 Coupe Competition commanding a price in the neighborhood of $77,000. Either way, the M4 Coupe will likely remain the cheaper version compared to the M4 Convertible. The latter could start at around $79,000 with the M4 Convertible Competition starting at $85,000.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG C 63

2019 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Even if the next-generation BMW M4 Coupe arrives like a gangbuster, it still has a lot of competition to deal with in its segment. It begins with the Mercedes-AMG C 63, which is considered every bit as good as the M4. Both models occupy the same space in the compact luxury performance car segment. As good as the M4 is, the AMG C 63 is right up there with it, thanks in large part to an incredible combination of luxury and performance that few vehicles in its class can compete with.

I can wax poetic about the AMG C 63’s style and posh interior, but it’s really the coupe’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that truly sets it apart. That mill produces a stout 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque in the AMG C 63 guise and an impressive 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque in the AMG C 63 S version. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph on the AMG C 63 and 180 mph on the AMG C 63 S.

On the tech front, both versions of the AMG C 63 come with a 10.3-inch infotainment interface with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, a pair of USB ports, and a Burmester surround-sound audio system, all of which come as standard on the model. There are options for upgrades, too. You can score a bigger and now customizable 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and a head-up display. You can also opt for the AMG Drive Unit package, which provides quick-access buttons on the steering wheel to adjust the car’s many drivetrain and chassis settings.

There’s also the AMG Track Pace package, which lets you store performance data from your vehicle in the infotainment interface when you’re driving on a road course. Availing these options will add to your checkout price, but if you’re fine with getting the AMG C 63 in standard form, you’re going to have to spend at least $69,900 for the AMG C 63 and $77,500 for the AMG C 63 S.

Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63

Audi RS5

2018 Audi RS5 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Just as the BMW M4 and the Mercedes-AMG C 63 are considered more sinister alter egos of the 4 Series and C-Class, respectively, the Audi RS5 holds that same stature relative to the A5.

The 2020 Audi RS5, introduced in 2018, came with a more aggressive look that includes a wider, lower grille, revised headlights, and larger corner air intakes. In short it looks better than ever. The same can be said for the interior, which comes loaded with the best materials Audi has to offer to go with the latest MMI touchscreen infotainment system and a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster.

Under the hood sits a 2.9-liter V-6 that pumps out an impressive 450 horsepower and 442.5 pound-feet of torque, all of which is channeled through an eight-speed automatic that’s linked with paddle shifters. With a curb weight of 3,648 pounds, it sits right in between the BMW M4 and AMG C63, but still manages to sprti to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and tops out at 174 mph. Pricing for the Audi RS5 starts at $74,200 before options, taxes, and pricing.

Read our full review on the 2020 Audi RS5

Conclusion

2021 BMW M4 Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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Just as our expectations for the all-new BMW M4 are trending up, so — we think so, at least — is the pressure from BMW to deliver the goods. The M4, for all intents and purposes, has replaced the M3 as the go-to performance Bimmer that also happens to be within reach of most people’s finances.

There’s a lot of pressure on BMW’s part to live up to the hype that the next-generation M4 is beginning to generate. From what we’ve seen, there’s no reason to think that Bimmer can’t accomplish its goal. The all-new M4 is shaping up to be a hot ticket item. It should arrive with provocative — if not controversial — looks. It should arrive packing the latest in BMW’s suite of technological offers. And the power gains? We’re looking forward to that, too. All told, we can’t wait for the new BMW M4 to arrive, as I’m sure most people feel the same way as well. Let’s just hope that when it arrives, it does so wearing Bimmer’s traditional kidney grille.

  • Leave it
    • That kidney grille could be a deal breaker
    • More expensive than current model
    • How does it handle?
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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