The next-generation BMW 4 Series has been photographed for the first time in convertible form, and it appears that the forthcoming four-seater alfresco model will go back to using a fabric soft-top, rather than the folding hard-top that has been in use since the E93 3 Series convertible.

The decision to go back to a soft-top should bring numerous benefits, namely weight savings and ease of packaging as it will take up less space in the luggage compartment than a folding roof would require. The new 4 Series convertible will bear the internal codename G22, while the forthcoming 4 Series coupe will be codenamed G23. Though hidden, the wider front grille could resemble that on the G29 Z4.

Little is known about the technical specifications for the 4 Series convertible and coupe, though historically the 4 Series (and previously, two-door versions of the 3 Series) have almost entirely carried over the powertrain line-up from the contemporary 3 Series sedans. As such, the next 4 Series can be expected to employ the full complement of four- and six-cylinder engines that will feature in the G20 3 Series, as well as the inevitable high-performance M4.

If powertrain configurations are to follow that of the G20 3 Series, possible 430i variants and above will be mated to an eight-speed automatic only. As before, dashboard architecture is expected to follow that of the 3 Series. The 4 Series coupe and convertible are set for a debut in 2020, and until then, a gradual drip-feed of information should be incoming.