BMW's 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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