BMW has revealed a pre-production i4 and confirmed that the all-electric four-door will have up to 530hp and a range of up to 366 miles, according to WLTP. The i4 Gran Coupe will be launched later this year in both normal and M Performance variants, with the 530hp output almost certainly attributed to the latter. New images were shown at the BMW Group Annual Conference this morning, close to exactly a year after the original i4 Concept was unveiled during last year’s cancelled Geneva week.
Time has certainly flown since then, and while we’ve had a glut of testing pictures to provide clues as to what the finished i4 would look like, today’s images confirm that it’ll sport a familiar design. Albeit with a few unique details like large kidney grilles that aren’t actually grilles (presumably they’ll house the car’s cameras and radars), simplified lines for aero efficiency and – this is becoming a welcome EV trend – smaller wheels, wrapped in eco-focused tyres. That said, the i4 should still be quick. BMW claims a four-second 0-62mph time.
While we weren’t given any additional details, we know from earlier announcements that the i4 is being developed with handling as a primary focus. We were told to expect a linear – and so hopefully easily readable – control surface tune, as well as a supple, adjustable ride. The firm is making use of its “actuator-related wheel slip limitation” tech, first introduced on the i3, to manage the instantaneous torque delivery of electric power. As such, both the entry-level rear-wheel drive car and all-wheel drive versions ought to have great traction.
“With its sporty looks, best in class driving dynamics and zero local emissions, the BMW i4 is a true BMW,” said Pieter Nota, member of BMW’s board of management for customer, brands, sales, at today’s event. “It makes the heart of the BMW brand now beat fully electric.”
BMW’s presentation included a video (below) of the i4 pre-production car in winter testing, providing a glimpse of its ‘sound’, and also showing that it’ll be able to go sideways, at least on slippery surfaces. BMW clearly wants to hammer home that its upcoming EV isn’t just here to lower its average CO2, but to establish the brand’s existing credentials in the world of all-electric transport.
Adding to that is the accompanying announcement of a much more divisive – but arguably even more sellable – BMW. The new iX xDrive40 (pictured in the gallery) has been confirmed for Britain with 300hp, a six-second 0-62 time and a list price of £69,000. It will be capable of “more than 249 miles” to one charge, with a 70kWh battery. Due later is the iX xDrive50 with a 100kWh battery, raising that range to 373 miles and giving the twin-motor car 500hp and a sub-five-second 0-62 time. Like the i4, both variants use BMW’s fifth-generation battery tech and come with claims of good handling, thanks in part to the EV’s inherent low centre of gravity.
“We are setting new industry standards with the technology in the BMW iX,” said Frank Weber, member of the board of management for development. “The iX has more computing power for data processing and more powerful sensor technology than the newest vehicles in our current line-up, is 5G-capable, will be given new and improved automated driving and parking functions and uses the high-performing fifth generation of our electric drive system.”
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