BMW has shown the final, production-spec version of its new i4 saloon as it gears up to launch the Tesla Model 3 rival three months ahead of schedule.
"The decision to launch three months early was easy," according to CEO Oliver Zipse, who outlined how BMW is "picking up the pace" with respect to the electrification of its line-up. Full specifications will be announced in the coming weeks.
The i4 will go on sale alongside the i3 electric hatchback, new iX3 mid-sized SUV and iX flagship in BMW's expanding electric line-up. By 2023, the firm will have 12 pure EVs on sale worldwide, with an electric option available in 90% of its current market segments.
The i4's production-spec debut comes as BMW unveils a plan to radically overhaul its approach to electric car development from 2025.
The 'Neue Klasse' transformation process will see the firm usher in a radically new design approach and place a heightened emphasis on technology and software. A new modular powertrain family will also be introduced, as will more efficient battery technology and greater use of recycled materials in the production process.
The final i4 stays true to the design of last year's production-previewing concept and is clearly visually related to the combustion-engined 4 Series that went on sale late last year. The upcoming 4 Series Gran Coupé will be largely identical to the exclusively four-door i4.
Precise technical specs remain under wraps, but we know the range-topping model - likely badged i4 M - will send up to 523bhp to both axles and offer a range of 367 miles. A 0-62mph time of around 4.0sec and top speed of more than 124mph are likely.
The i4 is based on a modified version of the CLAR platform, which underpins the current 3 Series and 4 Series, accommodating battery packs of up to 80kWh capacity. An entry-level rear-wheel-drive variant with a smaller battery will also be available, as is the case with the larger iX.
The i4 will use BMW's new eighth-generation iDrive operating system, shared with the iX flagship, which allows for over-the-air updates and greatly reduces the number of physical controls in the cabin - although it retains the characteristic rotary knob that has been used for every iteration of iDrive since it was introduced 20 years ago.