4 Series-based EV will go up against the Tesla Model 3 when it arrives in 2020
8 August 2019

New images show BMW's new i4 electric saloon carrying out hot weather testing as the company gears up to unveil the Tesla Model 3 rival next year. 

As in previous prototype shots, a clear visual link between the i4 and the latest 3 Series can be seen. The i4 will share much of its design with the upcoming second-generation 4 Series

However, a side-on view reveals that the new car appears higher off the ground (both in terms of roof height and ground clearance) than today's 4 Series, suggesting a raised floor to accommodate a sizeable long-range battery. Other tell-tale signs that this is the i4 include a blanked-off front grille, fake 'exhausts' in the disguise and legally mandated 'electric test vehicle' stickers. 

Earlier this year, BMW revealed that the i4 had been tested in cold weather environments alongside the upcoming iNext and iX3 electric SUVs. 

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The iX3, based on the latest X3, will arrive in 2020, followed a year later by the standalone iNext and 4 Series-based i4 a year later. 

BMW said the tests, which took place at its cold weather testing facility in Arjeplog, Sweden aimed to determine the durability of the models' batteries, electric motors and suspension systems. 

The i4 is claimed to have a range of over 373 miles, a 0-62mph time of 4.0sec and a top speed of more than 124mph. 

The i4 is scheduled to be built on the same line as standard 3 Series models at BMW's factory in Munich, Germany. To ensure a smooth production process with existing petrol, diesel and hybrid models, the manufacturer is already running assembly tests with pre-production versions.

The expansion of the i sub-brand follows a ruling by the EU to enforce a fleet average CO2 emission reduction of 35% by 2030. The ruling effectively spells an end to the combustion engine as a sole source of propulsion for high-volume cars sold in Europe by the end of the next decade.

This was expected by BMW’s top management, who initiated an acceleration in the development of both long-range plug-in hybrids and electric models in a board meeting held earlier this year. Speaking to Autocar at the 2018 Paris motor show, chairman Harald Krüger confirmed the altered i division plan, which aims to enable BMW to offer more electric cars than any rival premium brand in the short term.

It calls for the introduction of up to five dedicated i models by the end of 2021, with tentative steps to expand to 12 electric models within the whole BMW Group, including Mini and Rolls-Royce, by 2025.

Krüger has also given the green light for 25 new plug-in hybrid models to be introduced by 2025 in order to meet the 2030 target.

Among the models at the centre of BMW’s electrification strategy is a further developed version of the continuously evolving i3, the Mini SE, the iX3 and the i4. BMW will follow that with a more advanced range of premium electric cars employing solid-state batteries and autonomous driving features, previewed on the recent iNext concept car.

Talking about the i4, Krüger said: “The leading factors that will set it apart are fantastic design, which is very different to anything else on the road, and the fact that it is lighter and therefore more dynamic than anything we see on the market today, thanks to the materials we will use. Couple that with the connectivity technology we are constantly developing and we are confident it will lead the market.”

Sources suggest BMW is considering two drivetrain options for the i4. The first uses a front-mounted electric motor in combination with a fixed-ratio gearbox and an electric propeller shaft to channel drive to the rear wheels. This layout would give the i4 traditional BMW traits and, according to one source, the best possible weight distribution.

The second, and more costly, option is to use two electric motors: one driving the front wheels and a second within the rear axle assembly driving the rear wheels. 

Similar to the system that’s set to appear on the iX3, it offers the choice between front and four-wheel drive, depending on the drive mode that is selected. To achieve performance targets similar to those of the current 335d, BMW is banking on a total output for the electric motor set-up of the i4, whether as a single unit or dual units front and rear, of approximately 350bhp.

BMW's electric revolution begins in the sales charts

BMW’s sales of electrified models have increased rapidly in the past two years. In January 2017, it registered 5232 plug-in vehicles globally, but that figure had more than doubled to 13,271 by December. The company registered on average more than 10,000 electrified models per month in 2018.

These registrations are more significant viewed as a percentage of BMW’s total sales figures. In January 2017, this was an unremarkable 3.2%, but in August 2018, it was 6.7%. Surprisingly, the most popular plug-in BMW Group model in 2017 was the i3 – a car that has been in showrooms since 2013 and failed to meet targets for many of its years on sale.

A total of 31,482 were registered in 2017, nearly double the number in 2014. Despite this, BMW still has a long way to go to achieve its 2020 target of 500,000 electrified vehicles sold annually.

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Comments
26

6 March 2018

Looks like BMW are trying to steal the I-Pace and E-Tron thunder by making announcements about cars that don't even exist in a test/pre-production phase. 

Vapour wear!

1 November 2018

My first brand new out of the showroom car was a 2002 Tii (I was living in Hamburg at the time) the ony other BMW I had was the magnificent 3.0 Csi. Since then I honestly havent had my hearstrings pulled, but IF they dont tone down and leave the design as shown - this car would deffinatley go to the top of my list of wants. Which is good because I will have done the full circle as it will be the last new car I will buy being 73 in December means probably 10 years with luck, the good news is I still dont need glasses :-))

1 November 2018

So BMW will take till 2022 to get a Model 3 rival ON THE ROAD.  Yet their 3/4 Series is being slaughtered in the States with Telsa selling 22,000+ a month, so much for German tech.

1 November 2018
xxxx wrote:

So BMW will take till 2022 to get a Model 3 rival ON THE ROAD.  Yet their 3/4 Series is being slaughtered in the States with Telsa selling 22,000+ a month, so much for German tech.

The 3/4 series replacements are imminent, so people are hardly going to bundle out to buy them. Plus people who want an electric car, go to Tesla. BMW complete with everyone else on the non electric side of things. How are Jag doing in your statistics?

When they release an electric car, they may as well do it right. Not point in rushing a car out with loads of production and quality issues like the Model 3 had / has

1 November 2018
robhardyuk wrote:

xxxx wrote:

So BMW will take till 2022 to get a Model 3 rival ON THE ROAD.  Yet their 3/4 Series is being slaughtered in the States with Telsa selling 22,000+ a month, so much for German tech.

The 3/4 series replacements are imminent, so people are hardly going to bundle out to buy them. Plus people who want an electric car, go to Tesla. BMW complete with everyone else on the non electric side of things. How are Jag doing in your statistics?

When they release an electric car, they may as well do it right. Not point in rushing a car out with loads of production and quality issues like the Model 3 had / has

3/4 sales have been dropping since 2015 when the Model 3 spec was released. Jag I-Pace. must be doing something right as there's a long waiting list and the car is actually 'on the road' unlike the Merc and Audi.

BMW have released an EV it's called the i3 and it's probably costing them bucket loads due to expensive build costs and low sales. It's also behind the Bolt and way behind the LEAF on sales.  

9 August 2019
xxxx wrote:

robhardyuk wrote:

xxxx wrote:

So BMW will take till 2022 to get a Model 3 rival ON THE ROAD.  Yet their 3/4 Series is being slaughtered in the States with Telsa selling 22,000+ a month, so much for German tech.

The 3/4 series replacements are imminent, so people are hardly going to bundle out to buy them. Plus people who want an electric car, go to Tesla. BMW complete with everyone else on the non electric side of things. How are Jag doing in your statistics?

When they release an electric car, they may as well do it right. Not point in rushing a car out with loads of production and quality issues like the Model 3 had / has

3/4 sales have been dropping since 2015 when the Model 3 spec was released. Jag I-Pace. must be doing something right as there's a long waiting list and the car is actually 'on the road' unlike the Merc and Audi.

BMW have released an EV it's called the i3 and it's probably costing them bucket loads due to expensive build costs and low sales. It's also behind the Bolt and way behind the LEAF on sales.  

 

i have no idea where you live but where I do Audi E-Trond are thick on the ground. I haven’t seen a Mercedes and the i3 is pretty popular as well. I’d look at the i4 if they built a stationwagon, I have no use for a saloon or hatchback.

9 August 2019

 That’s all we hear about!, Tesla’s success in Europe will be based on the type 3, and it will only sell in numbers because of what it does not how it looks because it ain’t pretty on the Eye inside or out!, I’m not saying all BMW’s cars are Eye Candy, but, there a known quantity, this four series looks quite good, and if it’s a solid built and reliable ( yes, we all know somebody whose BMW History isn’t pleasant) then it’ll sell.

9 August 2019
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 That’s all we hear about!, Tesla’s success in Europe will be based on the type 3, and it will only sell in numbers because of what it does not how it looks because it ain’t pretty on the Eye inside or out!, I’m not saying all BMW’s cars are Eye Candy, but, there a known quantity, this four series looks quite good, and if it’s a solid built and reliable ( yes, we all know somebody whose BMW History isn’t pleasant) then it’ll sell.

If Tesla want to take Europe seriously the Model 3 needs a station wagon body style. You’re right about the quality, Tesla’s are pretty badly built. 

1 November 2018

Perhaps reliability would be the main priority before talking a load a rubbish about performance, autonomous driving and other such pie in the sky, what about getting the basic charging infrastucture sorted out first and sorting out the efficiency from the batteries /motor etc. Any one who knows about batteries technology knows what effect high current draw has on battery capacity so what is this performance lark about. Perhaps making a less esoteric i3 might be a good start or perhaps governments could put the money into making carbon fibre cars more affordable, perhaps PCP could be of some actual use in this scenario.

9 August 2019
405line wrote:

perhaps governments could put the money into making carbon fibre cars more affordable, 

Why the actual f*** should governments, ie the TAX PAYER put money into making carbon fibre cars more affordable, we already fund enough eco bollocks as it is, and the "Government" EV grant is taxpayers money as well, if you want to drive an EV, go out and buy your own, why should I or anyone else have to stroke your ego. 

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