BMW's I4: A Potential Tesla Beater for the Go-fast Green Crowd

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Forgive the use of the phrase “Tesla beater,” but would-be Model S buyers with an affinity for German vehicles had best hope BMW chairman Harald Krüger isn’t just blowing smoke. Krüger claims an upcoming addition to the brand’s slowly expanding electric vehicle line won’t go the weird route (a la the i3), nor will it be a straightforward, conservative affair (like the upcoming iX3).

Using the 4 Series GT’s architecture as a starting point, the chairman claims the i4, due out in 2021, will boast up to 435 miles of range and “redefine what is possible today for 0-60mph times.”

The green speed wars, made possible by the instant torque offered up by electric powertrains, are an odd thing. Automakers have begun promising 0-60 times in the sub-2 second range — acceleration that begins to trample on both practicality and safety. Pinning your e-throttle also depletes range at a great clip, but it’s not quite so counterproductive if your battery pack holds more miles in its cells.

Speaking to Autocar, Krüger said the i4 will differentiate itself from high-zoot competitors by “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,” the chairman said.

While the automaker hasn’t released any concept drawings, Autocar reports that the vehicle will use BMW’s fifth-generation electric powertrain architecture, currently in the testing phase. The vehicle might use just a single, front-mounted motor, the publication speculated, with power sent to the rear wheels via an electric propshaft. This would place more weight up front, making the vehicle feel more like a traditional ICE-powered Bimmer.

Patent images found online suggest the i4 will likely adopt a bodystyle that delights high-end buyers but sends auto journos into fits of rage: a four-door SUV coupe. However, Krüger says to expect a “4 Series Gran Coupe style car.” Better. Much better.

When it arrives, the I4 will be the fourth fully electric BMW vehicle, after the i3 and i8, iX3 (an EV version of the X3 crossover), and electric Mini Cooper.

[Image: BMW Group]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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13 of 31 comments
  • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Oct 02, 2018

    Sub 2 second 0-60 times? How soon before we can test Einstein's theory with a negative 0-60 and go back in time? Whoever does is the first should probably make it look like a DeLorean.

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    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Oct 02, 2018

      Yes they will be made from tachyons. There is no way that car made from baryons and electrons can reach speed of light.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Oct 02, 2018

    Nothing in the story told us how this mythical car will be a Tesla beater. If the answer is sub-2-second 0-60 times, a small handful of niche cars can already do that, as will the future Roadster. So BMW might build 50 i4's a month, selling for near $200k. Doesn't sound like Tesla-beating to me.

    • See 8 previous
    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Oct 02, 2018

      @Art Vandelay Not nougat...pie lol. But the V20 I gave my son (big sale when I got it) is still on nougat.

  • Dartdude They need to rebrand the models, The standard model should be Wagoneer and long version should be Grand Wagoneer. There should offer the Ram Rev powertrain in these
  • Irvingklaws Seems more like they're adopting Honda styling queues. Now if they would just adopt their reliability...
  • FreedMike "Obsidian Edition."Oooooh, obsidian is really, really hard stuff.
  • John The awesome Infiniti G series saved this company 20 years ago, but they are right back on track to obsolescence. (yawn)
  • Teddyc73 White with black wheels, I'm so sick of. Or dull grey and black wheels. Just stop.