Electric i4 sedan gnaws its way into BMW's future with gaping maw
Stepping its all-electric line forward from the iX SUV, BMW presents a first look at the next potential Tesla sedan rival. The i4 sedan brings plenty of all-electric horsepower and an admirable range, but unfortunately tucks it all behind BMW's now-signature swollen, sagging kidneys — too much grille for any car, especially an all-electric luxury "gran coupe." The i4 will be the next big step toward an electric future that will see a dozen all-electric models roaming around the BMW Group family within about two years.
The production i4 shows some modest evolution from the near-production Concept i4 Gran Coupe BMW showed a year ago. The headlights have been broadened out and the front bumper area cleaned up with a more dealership-ready appearance. Blue accents remain, but the copper finish is replaced with a simpler white. The roof appears a touch less slung-back, lending a taller, more sedan-like profile.
Unfortunately one thing that hasn't changed is the stretched vertical-kidney grille. If anything, it appears even larger, because instead of resting atop a large chin spoiler, it digs right into the lower fascia design. But this is clearly the direction BMW will be going with its "i" electric series for the foreseeable future.
Specs-wise, BMW confirms plans to launch several different variants with ranges up to 300 miles (482 km, EPA). Output will top out at 523 hp, and quickest 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time is estimated at a flat four seconds.
That's all BMW is revealing for now, but it plans to release the full story in the coming weeks ahead of a launch later this year, three months ahead of BMW's original plans.
"We have started the new year with strong momentum and are aiming to return to pre-crisis levels as swiftly as possible – and go even further," said BMW AG chairman Oliver Zipse at BMW Group's annual conference on Wednesday. “We have a clear roadmap for making the transformation of our industry a real competitive advantage for BMW in the coming years: uncompromisingly electric, digital and circular.”
The electric zip code on that roadmap will see around 12 all-electric BMW Group models on roadways by 2023. The iX and i4 will be the next new members of that group, joining the BMW i3 and iX3 and Mini SE. Farther down the line, BMW will add all-electric 5 Series, 7 Series and X1 variants, along with an electric Mini Countryman. Mini will eventually transition into a fully electric brand, introducing its last ICE model in 2025 before converting its entire offering to electrics by the early 2030s. BMW expects roughly 50 percent of Group global deliveries to comprise electric vehicles by 2030.