BMW has confirmed that it’ll show a Concept i4 in seven days, previewing the design that will feature on the all-electric Gran Coupe. The four-door production model will sit alongside the 4 Series line-up, providing BMW with an emission-dodger to suit practically any city in the world.
The i4’s positioning in a globally popular segment is key, especially in markets like China where there is proven demand for electric ‘four-door coupes’. The i3and i8 before it were comparably niche, not to mention considerably less practical. Their designs were also more divisive; BMW’s decision to give the i4 a more conventional look relates to EV market maturation; people no longer feel the need to shout about an absence of tailpipes.
We already know that the i4 will use BMW’s fifth generation eDrive hardware (it’s been mass-producing electric cars for seven years now), which will have 530hp and the ability to eke out more than 350 miles of range. But that’s likely to apply to the top-end model; expect lesser versions with lower prices to sit beneath its claims and extend the model’s remit. We’ll know more when the covers come off on the 3rd March at the Geneva motor show.
Original story: 18/11/2019
BMW has revealed that its all-electric i4 will develop 530hp, be capable of a 4.0 second 0-62mph time and have a range of 372 miles, providing the premium Gran Coupe-bodied EV a class-leading blend of performance and efficiency. The i4 will reach the market in 2021 using new high-voltage battery technology that will be shared with the forthcoming iX3, due next year. Both will feature an energy dense 80kWh cell that weighs 550kg.
Increased range is obviously the main advantage of the new battery - and the i4's ability to exceed 350 miles will be noted by Tesla and direct rival, Audi - but it is the claimed ability to reach 80 per cent charge in just 35 minutes that ought to distinguish it in the marketplace. BMW says a quick boost to 62 miles takes just six minutes.
Fast charge times are widely considered essential to achieving the much-discussed EV tipping point. The fifth-generation BMW eDrive tech inside the i4 will be applied to a range of future models as part of the firm's wider electrification plans, Significantly for the longevity of this plan, BMW is developing and producing the majority of its electric hardware in house, with a push for further development handled at the BMW Battery Cell Competence Centre in Munich. Expect the marque's line-up to look vastly different soon after the i4's arrival.
The i4 is still over a year away from arriving, but today's release of its vital statistics suggests the nitty gritty engineering work is at a very advanced stage. BMW has stopped short of detailing what it means by 'energy dense' when discussing the battery's configuration and there's no word yet as to what the i4's chassis itself will be made from; an extensive use of carbon fibre would no doubt help to counter the heft of the cells, but the firm's previous i models proved costly to make for that reason.
Images of the car cold weather testing suggest engineers are now turning their attention to the later stages of development. The official pictures show how the swept-back model's form is not too dissimilar to a 4 Series Gran Coupe's. That's not surprising, given the combustion engine model sells well globally, including in BMW's key markets, China and the US. Deploying an all-electric car in this class, backed by a compact SUV, makes perfect business sense; the greater sales volume offering the firm a better chance of absorbing its costs than a city and sports car did in the last decade.
Of course, there are still many unanswered questions relating to the i4, including what wheels will be driven by the motors and whether those aforementioned numbers are applied to one car or are representative of the best compromise across different variants. However, as far as early statistics go, they suggest BMW is set to make quite an impact in the world of electric mobility in the next decade. That will, inevitably, also include the adoption of electrification in its performance range, too. But that's for another cold day...