Nobody can accuse BMW of rushing the i4.
As far back as 2010, the company was already putting experimental versions of an electric Mini into the hands of civilian testers to gather as much everyday data as possible. The findings went on to inform Project i: an ambitious attempt to put BMW ahead of premium rivals in the sustainable mobility game. Launching in 2014, it almost succeeded.
After years of tantalising concepts, Project I bore production-ready fruit in the form of the all-electric BMW i3 city hatch and the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 coupé – sophisticated models and cast-iron future classics both, but they pushed the envelope too far for existing BMW customers and neither caught on quite as successfully as BMW would have hoped. Then nothing for seven years, until an electrified iX3 arrived in 2021, allowing BMW to plant a flagpole square in the centre of the SUV EV Venn diagram.
It succeeded in doing just that, but still we waited for an all-electric BMW that might just have the breadth of aesthetic and dynamic appeal as the evergreen, ever-popular, ever-brilliant BMW 3 Series.
Finally, here it is: the i4, which you could fairly describe as the first ‘proper’ electric BMW and therefore an exceedingly significant car for the brand. Certainly, the execution has been given the gift of time.