The propeller firm is not at its beginnings in the world of electricity since the Munich manufacturer started in 2013 with the i3. However – even if the latter is still in the catalog – since last year, the propeller firm is accelerating in this area. After tackling the world of SUVs with the iX3 then the iX, place now for the sedan, the i4, one of the most anticipated models of the moment and which occupies a good place at the center of the brand’s stand at this 2021 edition of the Munich Motor Show.
For its i4, unlike the iX with a completely new look, Bmw decided to apply the same recipe as for the iX3, namely that the electric and thermal models have almost identical bodies except for a few details. So this i4 looks like two drops of water like the new 4 Series Gran Coupé.
Huge closed grille, specific front and rear bumpers here are some of the specificities of the i4.
It therefore takes up the main aesthetic features of the 4 Series family (coupes and convertible), in particular the front face with its huge grille made up of two beans, the size of which has given rise to many comments, but it is closed as for the most electric vehicles. The set is undeniably statutory and perfectly respects the codes of the German sedan with a long hood.
However, differences appear between the i4 and the 4 Series, in particular at the level of the front and rear bumpers with obviously the absence of exhaust outlets which leads to the introduction of a specific rear diffuser.
Close on the outside, the two cousins differ radically in their interior presentation. The instrumentation is similar to that of the iX and consists of a double digital curved panel. The screen facing the driver measures 12.3 inches while that dedicated to multimedia reaches 14.9 inches. For the occasion, it receives a new operating system which makes it particularly fluid and pleasant to use with a new display. This new dashboard has direct consequences on the organization of the dashboard with the disappearance of many buttons such as those for the air conditioning, which can now only be controlled by the screen. The whole is undeniably more refined and modern. BMW is thus closing its gap in interior design compared to some of its premium rivals. The quality of the materials is usual for the Munich firm, that is to say of a very good standard.
If the dashboard innovates, this is not the case of the rear seats where the occupants will have to deal with an imposing transmission tunnel. Surprising for an electric vehicle? Well no, since this i4 shares its platform with the new 4 Series Gran Coupe, available only in thermal. On board this sedan measuring 4.78 m long, two passengers will therefore be well seated, provided, however, that they are not more than 1.85 m tall. The trunk offers an interesting capacity oscillating between 470 and 1290 liters.
The first electric M
On the mechanical level, we especially remember that this i4 is the first electric model from BMW to receive the M label. Logically, it will be the most powerful version called i4 M50. It will be powered by a 544 hp and 795 Nm engine and has 4-wheel drive. The announced autonomy will be 510 km.
The i4 will also exist in a more classic eDrive 40 version with 340 hp and with a range of 590 km made possible by the 83.9 kWh battery. The latter is capable of accepting recharges of 200 kW. On a station of this type, it only takes 10 minutes to recover 164 km (BMW i4 eDrive40) or 140 km (BMW i4 M50) of autonomy.
As the engineers wanted to increase the dynamism, the center of gravity was lowered by 53 mm compared to a Series 3, wider tracks and longer wheelbase. Comfort is not sacrificed with the presence of standard air suspension.
The i4 will make its first official release at the Munich Motor Show which opens today. Its marketing will take place in France next November with prices between € 59,700 and € 71,650.
The Caradisiac moment
Right next to this BMW i4 one could find its ancestor, the 1602 Elektro-Antrieb. Equipped with a 43 hp electric motor and a 12.6 kWh battery allowing it a range of up to 60 km, it was produced in two copies to serve as a shuttle for the athletes during the 1972 Oplympic Games which took place … in Munich.