Currently reading: New BMW i4: Tesla Model 3 rival to produce 523bhp
German firm claims 4 Series-based EV, due in 2021, will be a true performance saloon
4 mins read
18 November 2019

BMW has confirmed that its forthcoming i4 electric saloon will produce 523bhp, with the Tesla Model 3 rival featuring a top speed of around 125mph. 

UPDATED: BMW i4 electric saloon shown in near-production form

The new model, due to go into production in 2021 following the forthcoming iX3, will be the German firm’s first electric saloon. Along with the regular 4 Series, the new EV was previewed by the bold 4 Series Gran Coupe concept at the Frankfurt motor show. BMW claims the i4 “heralds a new era of driving pleasure”, and will feature the firm’s “hallmark brand driving pleasure in a particularly concentrated form.”

BMW has released new official shots of the i4 undergoing winter testing, and has confirmed that it will make use of its fifth-generation eDrive system, which will also be used on the iX3 – due in 2020 – and the advanced iNext, which is set for launch in in 2021.

BMW claims the 523bhp motors will allow for a 0-62mph time of around four seconds. The firm says that output has been chosen to mirror the power of a V8 engine in current BMW models, and claims that it will offer “outstanding performance characteristics and exceptionally high efficiency”.

The latest eDrive system is built around a modular system featuring the electric motor, transmission and power electronics in a single housing, which BMW says means it can be used for a range of different models and power outputs. The i4 will feature an 80kWh high-voltage battery pack that weighs around 550kg and gives a claimed range of around 373 miles. The battery can be charged at rates of up to 150kW. 

As shown 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 the current 4 Series, likely due to a raised floor to accommodate the sizeable long-range battery.

Earlier this year, BMW revealed that the i4 had been tested at its cold weather facility in Arjeplog, Sweden, with the goal of determining the durability of the models' batteries, electric motors and suspension systems. 


Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
BMW 4-series

The facelifted BMW 4 Series has improved on an already solid proposition but can it hold off the likes of the latest generation Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé?

Back to top

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 the acceleration of 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 are 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.”

Back to top

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.


BMW iNext: high-tech electric SUV seen with less disguise

2019 BMW 3 Series review

BMW i3 review

Join the debate

Add a comment…
kritika33 17 January 2020

This is an amazing news

BMW has released new official shots of the i4 undergoing winter testing, it's a amzing news as soon I read the news I couldn't wait to come and see it here on AutoCar

martin_66 18 November 2019

Oh really?

”A claimed range of 373 miles”.

Ha!!  Let me know how that works out for you.  A bottle of the finest single malt for the first person to reach 300 miles before stopping in the middle of nowhere.

Torque Stear 19 November 2019

martin_66 wrote:

martin_66 wrote:

”A claimed range of 373 miles”.

Ha!!  Let me know how that works out for you.  A bottle of the finest single malt for the first person to reach 300 miles before stopping in the middle of nowhere.

373 miles on a WLTP cycle equates to around 300 miles practical range which is fine.

Firstly since you plug your car in every evening you wake up every morning with a full battery.

Secondly on a Tesla when you put your destination into sat nav it puts supercharger stops in.

Thirdly 300+ miles equates to around 6 hours of driving cross country, you want to have a 20 minute stop well before you run out of range. With a fast charger the car is charged by the time you have had a coffee and a piss. Whereas with fuel stops you have to supervise the filling, pay for the petrol and then move the car to another parking location before you have said coffee and piss.

The industry consensus is that once you get to around 400 miles range on the US measure you probably now want to use new battery tech to reduce the size and cost of the battery rather than add range. Telsa might push beyond this simply to fit bigger batteries to allow higher power and to show off.

manicm 18 November 2019


I’d still only consider an I-Pace, Tesla or Mach-E cos they’re ground up new designs. This will be invariably compromised design wise. It looks worryingly like a mini 8 GranCoupe, which I don’t think is that good looking.

Van Hoydoonk needs to go.

Find an Autocar car review