BMW i4

All-electric four-door ‘Grand Coupé’ has up to 363-mile range 

The i4 shows BMW is serious about the switch to electric power, a significant step for a company associated with so many charismatic combustion engines past and present. Though full model details have yet to be released this all-electric BMW game-changer is expected to make its debut in Autumn 2021.

DESIGN

Take a quick glance at the i4 and what do you see? Most likely it will remind you of a 3 Series, heartland of the BMW range. On closer inspection the blue design accents on grille and rear diffuser are visual pointers to the i4’s all-electric technology, the dramatic roofline is more coupé-like, and the large double kidney grille is more assertive. But the message is clear: this is BMW’s zero-emissions future in a compact, sporting four-door form. Like the 3 Series and 4 Series, the i4 Gran Coupé is based on a modified version of the CLAR platform and will be built on the same production lines. However, it is taller than its combustion-engine stablemates due to the need to accommodate a large, powerful battery low in the chassis.

BMW i4

FEATURES

BMW’s preview concept for the i4 showed a clean, open and inviting cabin with a curved dash, featuring a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and 14.9-inch touchscreen. While the production model’s specification is yet to be announced, the new i4 will feature BMW’s new eighth-generation infotainment system, iDrive 8. This features natural language ‘Hey BMW’ voice commands, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 5G mobile capability.


PERFORMANCE

The i4 will be available with a choice of drivetrains, from a 530hp all-wheel drive i4 M flagship that will dismiss the 0-62mph benchmark in around 4 seconds, to a rear-drive model of lesser performance (but potentially an equally impressive range). BMW claims the i4 will have a range of up to 363 miles (WLTP rated) with an 80kWh battery pack. This can be charged at up to 150 kW, providing up to 80 percent of the car's driving range in just 35 minutes. It’s likely that as well as offering a choice of rear- and all-wheel drive, the i4 will be available with a choice of battery sizes.
BMW i4

TECHNOLOGY

The i4’s eDrive system is built around a modular system featuring the electric motor, transmission and power electronics in a single housing, making it adaptable to different models and power outputs. BMW has also revealed that the i4 will feature model specific damper technology, ensuring that the instant acceleration that’s a characteristic of electric power is ‘a stimulating yet controlled driving experience’. From the originators of the Ultimate Driving Machine we’d expect no less. No safety features have been announced yet, but electric power makes it a natural fit with the latest in semi-autonomous driver aids.


Verdict: If you’ve doubted whether electric motors can ever replace the thrill of a responsive petrol engine, the BMW i4 could be the vehicle to change your mind. It’s a great-looking four-door coupé that shares BMW’s bold new design language, it has the range and the performance to match (or beat) the best in class and most important of all, it will drive like a proper BMW. That’s an unbeatable package and well worth the wait until Autumn 2021.

BMW i4

i4 360° View