BMW has finally revealed all the details revolving around its first ever electric Gran Coupe – the BMW i4. Built to offer a sporty driving prowess and a range that also convinces over long journeys with the elegant design, the i4 was also designed to give owners the spaciousness and practicality of a four-door sedan.
Market launch from November 2021
Market launch gets underway in November 2021 with two model variants – the BMW i4 M50 with 544 hp, all-wheel drive and a range of up to 510 km, and the BMW i4 eDrive40 with 340 hp, rear-wheel drive, and a range of up to 590 km.
According to BMW, the i4 is based on a flexible vehicle architecture conceived from the outset for a purely electric drive system. Featuring a long wheelbase and wide tracks, the car was built on a light yet extremely stiff body structure.
BMW i4 M50 gets M goodies
The BMW i4 M50 also features model-specific adaptive M suspension, variable sport steering, M Sport braking system and optional M light-alloy wheels (up to 20-inch).
Featuring Sport Boost for ultra-dynamic power delivery from the two electric motors with peak output and maximum system torque of 795 Nm, the i4 M50 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds, while the i4 eDrive40 which produces 430 Nm does the same in 5.7 seconds.
As far as charging is concerned, the Combined Charging Unit allows use of DC fast-charging stations with output of up to 200 kW. Range can be increased by as much as 164 kilometres within 10 minutes at stations of this kind.
On the exterior, the i4 features stretched coupé proportions, a flowing roofline, four doors with frameless windows, and a large tailgate. And then, we have the largely blanked-off front end and striking BMW kidney grille with discreetly integrated camera, ultrasonic and radar sensors.
The BMW i4 M50 on the other hand gets bespoke performance-led cues such as M Carbon exterior package and M Performance Parts.
Inside, the i4 gets acoustic glazing, pre-heating, pre-conditioning, Sport seats, and sports steering wheel as standard. The centre console with modern-design houses the control panel for the gear selector lever, BMW Controller and function keys.
The load compartment capacity of 470 litres can be expanded up to a maximum 1,290 litres.
The i4 also comes with the new generation BMW iDrive control/operation system, with a clear focus on touchscreen functionality of the new BMW Curved Display and natural spoken dialogue using the extensively upgraded BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.
Latest infotainment system
The fully digital screen grouping of 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display features advanced graphics and powerful software based on BMW Operating System 8.
Another highlight of the i4 is that around 40 driver assistance functions are available. While Front-collision warning, Speed Limit Info and Lane Departure Warning fitted as standard, optional gizmos include Active Cruise Control with automatic Speed Limit Assist, route monitoring function and (in Germany) reaction to traffic lights. Also available are Driving Assistant Professional including Steering and Lane Control Assistant.
Park Distance Control and Reversing Assist Camera fitted are also fitted as standard.
That being said, the BMW i4 is on its way to Malaysia as well, with BMW Group Malaysia already registering interests from potential buyers. While there is no indication on which variant would come here, our guess is that it would be the less powerful i4 iDrive e40, because we always get the less happening stuff, don’t we?
BMW has unveiled a new and improved version of the BMW iDrive system which now takes the interaction between driver and vehicle to another level.
Underpinning the unique user experience is the new BMW Operating System 8, a new generation of displays, controls and software, and extremely powerful connectivity and data processing.
The new iDrive will be rolled out gradually across all vehicle classes, making its debut later this year in the BMW iX before also featuring in the BMW i4.
BMW Curved Display
The most distinctive new addition to the physical components on board is the BMW Curved Display, which groups together the information display and control display.
This curving screen offers a futuristic interpretation of the traditional driver orientation in the cockpit design of BMW models. The BMW Curved Display is angled clearly towards the driver to good ergonomic effect, making the intuitive touch control even more straightforward.
In this new BMW Curved Display, the screen areas of the 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display merge together into a single unit.
The number of buttons and switches has been reduced by almost half. At the same time, control clusters for relevant and frequently used basic functions are retained where customers expect to find them.
The control panels on the centre console and instrument panel have an all-new, strikingly clear and minimalist design. The familiar iDrive Controller is the central control element on the centre console. The Touch Controller, designed in an extremely smart glass-effect finish for the BMW iX, is encircled by a bezel painted in Gold Bronze.
The new generation of BMW iDrive also brings a new design language for the newly developed BMW Operating System 8. Strong and eye-catching graphics, modern colours, futuristic textures and forms, bright light and the interplay of reflections create an impressive and immersive visual appearance.
At the same time, the user interface has been optimised to present the right amount of information at all times in a simple and easy-to-understand way.
The extensive individualisation options available for the screens in the display area behind the steering wheel can be selected extremely quickly and easily via the function keys on the steering wheel. The two-axis operating system enables user-friendly vertical list navigation with the rotating key, as well as toggling between menus by tilting horizontally.
The driver can switch between three layout types and various different widgets according to personal preference or the driving situation at hand – by thumb control and in just a few operating steps. The three modes are Drive, Gallery, and Focus.
The new generation of BMW iDrive also brings additional skills for the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. In order to strengthen the personal connection between the digital companion and the vehicle occupants, users can still give the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant a name of their choice, which they then use as a prompt.
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will also learn new functions and new forms of expression as the ongoing development of BMW iDrive continues. These new features are regularly imported into the vehicle by means of Remote Software Upgrade.
When using the new BMW iDrive, customers benefit from increasing personalisation of the user experience based on the BMW ID. When the BMW ID has been loaded, the driver will receive a personal greeting which will include the customised profile image that can be uploaded in the My BMW App.
Once the driver moves to within one-and-a-half metres, the vehicle unlocks no matter whether they are carrying their UWB key or a smartphone with BMW Digital Key Plus.
The new BMW iDrive system will be launched with these Efficient, Sport and Personal Modes. Further modes will be added as part of the ongoing development of BMW iDrive in the future.
This will also include modes that do not revolve primarily around the driver or the task of driving. Additional functions will be integrated into the modes and the options for configuring functions extended. These enhancements will be imported into vehicles via over-the-air updates.
BMW Operating System 8
With the arrival of the new BMW Operating System 8, the digital services for navigation, parking and charging are fully integrated into the cloud-based BMW Maps system in a user-friendly way. The intelligent functions of BMW Maps are also being expanded further.
That being said, the new-generation BMW iDrive offers new opportunities for seamlessly incorporating customers’ habits and preferences into the operating system. The system’s higher degree of flexibility will additionally make in-car use of third-party apps even simpler and more convenient in future.
The BMW Operating System 8 again also ensures full integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the new BMW iDrive will also enable extensive integration of the Alibaba and Tencent services for customers in China.
In an effort to let the whole world know that their electric sedans are just as fun as their fuel-burning, fire-spitting, ever-roaring, M3s, M4s and what not, BMW has released a video of the upcoming i4 showing off its capabilities.
“For the first time, we’ve developed a BMW with sporty DNA for purely electric driving entirely from scratch,” explains project manager David Alfredo Ferrufino Camacho.
“The BMW i4 offers everything BMW stands for – and it’s fully electric, too.”
With just a few months left before its world premiere, the BMW i4 is currently completing the final phase of driving dynamics testing.
According to BMW, the focus is on the integrated application of all drive and suspension components, ensuring that the spontaneous power delivery of the electric motor is combined with precisely controllable handling in every situation, optimised traction in all weather and road conditions, and perfectly balanced ride comfort.
With a maximum output of up to 530 hp, the electric powertrain in the BMW i4 enables the car to reach the 100 km/h mark in just four seconds from standstill. But even more impressive than its pure sprint capacity is the driving response it conveys.
A model-specific damper technology reduces the dipping movements of the body at the moment of set-off, while the actuator-related wheel slip limitation (ARB) developed by BMW with its extremely fast and precise control guarantees optimum traction and perfect straight-line stability at all times – even on slippery road surfaces.
Other key features include its spontaneous reactions to every movement – not just of the accelerator pedal but also of the steering and the brake pedal. The prerequisites for this high level of agility and precision are anchored in the underlying vehicle concept of the BMW i4.
This includes the car’s long wheelbase, wide track widths, model-specific camber values, large wheels, as well as the high torsional rigidity and the vehicle’s low centre of gravity and weight balance.
In addition to its neutral self-steering behaviour and its powerful, precisely controllable brakes, the steering in the BMW i4 responds directly and with a high degree of accuracy, offering the driver precise feedback at all times while remaining entirely independent of drive forces, even during intensive acceleration or deceleration.
Lane changes at high speeds are mastered with ease, while relaxed driving over long distances is ensured by the speed-related Servotronic power steering and the fact that the vehicle is largely insusceptible to any disruption caused by road bumps.
Fitted with a high-voltage storage system featuring the latest battery cell technology that enables a range of up to 600 kilometres (WLTP), the chassis technology of the BMW i4 is designed for long-distance comfort, too. It is based on the high-quality damper technology, supplemented with model-specific components and separately tuned.
This effectively reduces body vibrations due to road unevenness and on bends. The model-specific fine-tuning of the suspension and damping contributes significantly to the harmonious driving characteristics of the BMW i4.
Made in Munich
At the same time as the final calibration runs are being held, preparations are underway for the production start-up at BMW Group Plant Munich. Here, every single production step is currently undergoing validation before the BMW i4 receives its final stamp of approval for characteristic BMW delivery quality.
As funky as they make it sound, do you think that the i4 will be able to fill in the shoes of the 3-Series and the 4-Series in the future?