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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
bmws i4 a potential tesla beater for the go fast green crowd

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]

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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.

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    • 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.

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.