BMW’s upcoming i4 electric saloon has again been shown as a concept, this time as a thinly veiled production preview.
The all-new four-door model will be an integral part of an extended range of BMW i electric cars that are due for launch by 2025. Planned to go on sale in the UK in mid-2021 as a direct rival to the Tesla Model 3, it is claimed to make as much as 523bhp and have a range of up to 373 miles.
The i4 is based on the second-generation 4 Series Gran Coupé, which is set to be revealed later this year. Like its combustion-engined sibling, it takes a three-box silhouette with a distinctive cab-rearward profile. This is to help it appeal to traditional BMW customers, moving away from the controversially styled i3 hatchback of 2013.
Drawing inspiration from the forthcoming iNext SUV, the i4 has clean and taut surfacing that is aimed at providing it with class-leading aerodynamic efficiency.
Among the key design elements on the third model to date from the i sub-brand is a bold kidney grille, similar in size and shape to that of last year’s Concept 4. The i4 also shares that car’s thin headlight treatment, heavily curved roofline, high-set notchback rear end and OLED tail-lights.
Illuminated blue highlights on the grille, down the flanks and in the rear diffuser mark the i4 out as an EV. These are expected to be retained when production of the i4 begins in Munich, Germany, during the third quarter of 2021.
Other new design developments incorporated include flush door handles and aerodynamically optimised wheels. The Concept i4 also sports BMW’s new logo, which takes a two-dimensional design in order to make it more suited to digital marketing.
Inside, the Concept i4 has a clean and simplistic dashboard that supports a single curved HD display housing the instruments and infotainment system. It also features the latest iteration of BMW’s iDrive controller, grouped together with touch-sensitive controls on a wide centre console that spans the length of the cabin.
Previewing the powerplant that is set to be used in the production i4, the Concept i4 features a BMW developed-and-produced electric motor that makes up to 523bhp – 69bhp more than the 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine of the M4 CS. Mounted up front, beneath the long bonnet, it provides drive to all four wheels via an as-yet-unspecified gearbox. BMW hints at a 0-62mph time of 4.0sec and a top speed in excess of 124mph.