There’s hope left for the three-pedal gearbox, as new spy shots show it will live on in the big-grilled, all-paw 2021 M4.
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Lay down your pitchforks, purists, as the latest batch of spy shots of the upcoming 2021 BMW M4 confirm the next-generation sports coupe will retain a three-pedal option.

While such a fact was confirmed late last year by BMW M boss Markus Flasch, it’s reassuring to see the short-throw, leather-wrapped gear stick and trio of metallic pedals out in the wild.

The rest of the M4 prototype’s interior spied by our spy photography partners comes as little surprise to those familiar with the cabin of the new M3, which was also snapped with a row-your-own shifter back in December.

While the standard 3 Series’ – and, most likely, the upcoming 4 Series’ – 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment display appear to carry over unchanged to the hot coupe, there’s a revised sports steering wheel with M1 and M2 drive mode preset buttons, plus a pair of unique sports seats with illuminated M logos reminiscent of those in the M8 super-coupe.

There’s little to discuss on the exterior, where the entire body is still shrouded in swirly camouflage to disguise it from prying eyes. The black camouflage cladding remains particularly strong up front, where – if spy shots of the regular 4er and factory leaks are anything to go by – a pair of controversial, tall kidney grilles is expected to sit.

Other exterior elements of note include M-specific aerodynamic mirrors, a set of large-diameter, spindly alloy wheels, quad exhaust tips, wider wheel arches and a rear lip spoiler akin to that on the outgoing M4 CS lightweight special.

Confirmed to be sitting under the bonnet is the 3.0-litre ‘S58’ twin-turbocharged inline-six engine from the X3 M and X4 M SUVs, producing ‘over 373kW’ of power (or 500 horsepower).

While not officially confirmed by the company, it’s rumored the engine will be offered in two states of tune, matching those of the M4’s aforementioned hot crossover siblings: 353kW/600Nm in ‘base’ cars (which could potentially be badged ‘Pure’), or the full-fat 375kW/600Nm in top-spec Competition models.

All-wheel-drive is expected to be an option for the first time, joining the more conventional rear-wheel drive layout. Buyers not looking to shift gears themselves will have the option of an automatic gearbox, namely the eight-speed ZF torque-converter unit from the X3/X4 M, standard 3 Series, and much of BMW’s rear-drive-based range.

The 2021 BMW M4 – alongside its four-door M3 sibling – is expected to make its global debut and successive launch in late 2020, though the current global climate – combined with the fact that the ‘regular’ 4 Series has yet to appear – could push that date back into 2021.