New BMW i4 styling revealed
New electric BMW i4 will rival Tesla Model 3 and claims official range of 367 miles
- 367-mile range
- 0-62mph in four seconds with a top speed of 124mph
- M Performance model due
The BMW i4 has been officially revealed. Full details will be released nearer the time it goes on sale later this year but this is our first look at the styling of the final production model. The i4 is essentially an electric version of the upcoming BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, a model based on the BMW 3 Series but with slightly sleeker styling.
As an electric saloon, the 2021 BMW i4 will rival the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2. A similarly sized Mercedes EQC saloon is thought to be in the works but we haven’t seen anything to suggest Audi or Volvo is planning an electric i4 rival - not yet, at least.
The upcoming i4 will be one of the first cars to feature BMW’s new iDrive 8 infotainment system. The new system will use two screens mounted side-by-side and is also going to be used in the BMW iX SUV, as well as many more future BMW models.
BMW i4: powertrain, performance and charging
The i4 features the fifth generation of BMW’s eDrive battery technology, with an 80kWh battery providing an impressive claimed range of 367 miles. BMW says that the car’s battery features an ‘extremely slim’ design and weighs only 550kg. The car produces 523bhp and is capable of 0-62mph in four seconds with a top speed of 124mph.
It also features BMW's latest charging technology, which supports rapid charging at up to 150kW. When connected to a rapid charger, the i4's battery can be topped up to 80% in around 35 minutes.
BMW has also confirmed that the i4 range will feature a halo M Performance model, which could have the 523bhp mentioned above. There will almost certainly be cheaper models with less power.
The i4’s headlights and distinctive kidney grilles are carried over from the 4 Series, with the brake light clusters and the tailgate getting a similar design. Compared to the 3 Series, the i4 gets a more steeply raked rear windscreen and rear-quarter windows.
Its electric powertrain is highlighted by blue trim on the grilles, side skirts and rear diffuser, and the front grilles are blanked out to improve aerodynamic efficiency. The alloy wheels on this car look to have been designed with aerodynamics in mind, too, although we expect a wide range of wheel options will be available.
The i4’s interior will be revealed in the coming weeks and we expect it to take design cues from the BMW iX SUV, as well as elements from the 3 Series and 4 Series models. Previously, the i4 concept car featured a four-seat layout, with seats trimmed in sustainably sourced materials, including microfibre and natural leather. Elsewhere, bronze detailing is dotted around the dashboard and door panels.
iDrive 8 infotainment
While the interior of the i4 is yet to be revealed, it’s thought the infotainment setup will be similar to the iX SUV. The iX has two screens; one is a 12.3-inch digital dial cluster and the other is a huge 14.9-inch touchscreen, which can also be controlled using a rotary dial next to the gear selector. The surrounding buttons have been replaced with touch panels in the trim, with the panels invisible when the ignition is turned off.
BMW has highlighted the level of personalisation you can expect in the new iDrive system, which allows you to change the ambient lighting colour, the weight of the steering and even the graphics on the screen. There are several layouts for the touchscreen, including a ‘Focus’ mode for “extremely dynamic driving situations”,and new personal assistant tech that can be renamed to anything you want to call it. All the settings you change can be assigned to a driver profile, so your individual preferences come into effect when you get in.
The navigation system ‘learns’ your frequent journeys - like a daily commute - and can preemptively load up directions and traffic info. Software updates happen over-the-air, and the car will ‘wake up’ when you’re three metres away if it senses you’re approaching.
What does it mean for car buyers?
When it goes on sale later this year, the all-electric BMW i4 will be a direct rival to the Tesla Model 3 and a genuine electric alternative to conventionally powered models of the 3 Series. It looks set to match the Model 3 for technology and range, which should be enough for most owners. Add to this BMW’s reputation for producing great driver’s cars, plus the premium badge, and the i4 could well be a tempting alternative to the Model 3 for buyers that want to make the switch to electric.