BMW has confirmed that it will produce an i4 to sit above the i3 hatchback in its growing 'i' range of electric cars.
During the company's press conference at the Geneva motor show, chairman Harald Krüger said the model, which is expected to arrive close to the upcoming iX3 electric SUV in the early part of the next decade, will be built in Munich.
This is a 365bhp, rear-drive sports saloon with something to prove. Let’s see...
Power for the i4 could come from a single electric motor that's located on the front axle but can send power to the back wheels via an electric propeller shaft. It's thought that this layout is more desirable for the i4 because it would give the car a front-biased weight distribution, which is more comparable with combustion-engined BMW models and beneficial for handling balance.
An alternative possibility is a more expensive twin-motor set-up that applies direct power to each axle. This is the layout that will be employed by the iX3, but it may prove to be needlessly costly for the i4.
BMW insiders have told Autocar that the i4 will be engineered to achieve similar performance to the current 335d GT, so a total power output of around 350bhp is possible. A range of 310 miles would place the i4 near the front of the running order among its electric competition.
The new electric models will come at a time BMW when is growing its EV range at an unprecedented rate. An iNext model is also due in 2021 with the marque’s most advanced autonomous technology, while electric variants of other cars are also likely due, following a long list of patent applications that reserved the right for BMW to use names spanning from i1 to i9, as well as iX1 to iX9 for SUVs.
BMW's electric ambitions will also lead to the launch a Mini EV, called the Mini Electric. Due in 2019, the hatchback is expected to borrow technology from the current i3.