A fresh report claims BMW plans to add a rear-wheel-drive M440i variant to its new 4 Series range in 2021.

At the reveal of the second-generation 4 Series, the Munich-based firm focused on the M440i xDrive, complete with a turbocharged 3,0-litre straight-six that drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

According to BMWBlog, however, the German firm’s engineering team has confirmed a rear-driven version will follow “sometime in 2021”.

This rear-wheel-drive derivative is expected to employ the same engine as its all-paw sibling, which means peak outputs of 275 kW and 500 N.m (plus an additional 8 kW for short bursts courtesy of a 48 V mild-hybrid system).

While the xDrive system obviously provides superior traction off the line, ditching it would result in a little less weight (we'd guess somewhere in the region of 80 kg) for the M440i to lug around. Of course, BMW already offers a rear-driven version of the closely related M340i xDrive in North America so there's a chance the 4 Series version will be restricted to that market, too.

As a reminder, the new 4 Series is scheduled to launch in South Africa in the final quarter of 2020, with the 420i, 420d and M440i xDrive on the cards.