By on October 2, 2018

Image: GMW Group

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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31 Comments on “BMW’s i4: A Potential Tesla Beater for the Go-fast Green Crowd...”


  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    “The vehicle might use just a single, front-mounted motor, the publication speculated, with power sent to the rear wheels via an electric propshaft.”

    What is an electric propshaft???

  • avatar
    vehic1

    Praise be! It’s not some interterrestrial space pod!

  • avatar
    threeer

    You mean a BMW that might, gasp, be fun to drive again? Say it isn’t so…

  • avatar
    vvk

    What lunacy. He is talking about electric propshaft in 2021. When today you can buy a superior car built on dedicated EV platform (no propshaft) today.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @stingray65″ 0 to 60 in under 2 seconds has already been done. The Rimac Concept 2 does it in 1.85 seconds. It has 1,914 hp. 2,300 Nm torque. 4 motors. Porsche recently bought 10% of the company, so we might see some of the technology trickle down to Porsches.

      http://www.rimac-automobili.com/en/hypercars/c_two

    • 0 avatar

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

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yeah, skipping over the positive attributes and inserting your own made up facts and suppositions would certainly paint that picture.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        BMW’s i8 sells for ~$150k today, at 50 copies per month. What evidence do you have that a 100 kWh+ BMW that is faster will sell in higher volume and for anything less?

        I’ll give you this: Even if this mythical creature achieves 80% of the WLTP drive cycle under EPA rules (which TTAC always quotes for “Tesla-beaters”, rather than the more realistic EPA drive cycle), it actually will be a Tesla-beater with a 348-mile range.

        But as I recall, your version of a Tesla beating mfr is one who can *produce* cars, not necessarily sell them. So, do you really think BMW is going to produce more of these things than any other Tesla?

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @ScetoAux: The last I heard, the Taycan production will only be 20,000 per year. The competing Model 3 Performance is based on a car that is averaging almost 18,000 cars per month. I really like the Taycan and will eventually buy one, but I’m thinking about TM3P in the interim since it only takes 2 months to get one at this point.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @mcs: You’re having an interesting evolution on your next EV purchase.

            That Taycan volume is disappointing, but not surprising. My guess is that Porsche is going to lose a lot of money on the car, but wants to test the waters with a competitive price and product. The projected range and performance are for a vehicle that should cost 25-50% more.

            If they follow Tesla’s path, they’ll discover how expensive it is to go all in on their EV promises. In the US, Tesla already outsells Porsche, so they have a lot of ground to make up.

            I hope you can finally get the Taycan. It looks great and has nice specs.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “What evidence do you have that a 100 kWh+ BMW that is faster will sell in higher volume and for anything less?”

          You really think they’d slot something called “i4” above the “i8”?

          I doubt they’ll out produce Tesla, but I expect this BMW will be in the low-end Model S price range.

    • 0 avatar

      SCE to AUX what he actually meant was Tesla killer. Tesla killer is the same thing as iPhone killer. iPhone killer was a hypothetical phone that would make iPhone obsolete and dead. The main argument was that company X (X = Nokia, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, Samsung, Toshiba etc.) knows how to make phones and did it for decades while Apple has no experience in building phones, so it is just a matter of time… therefore iPhone deathwatch.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Yes, although interestingly Android phones outsell Apple phones by 2:1.

        I’m not saying BMW is incapable of building a better EV than Tesla, but I’m questioning the metric for the term “Tesla beater” or “Tesla killer”. Because at the moment, Tesla owns nearly the entire envelope for volume, performance, pricing, and availability.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          But a sizable chunk of those Android phones are third world feature phones. GM outsold everyone in the 80s too. But a lot of those sales were to people who couldn’t afford nicer and haven’t bought GM since because of it. Not saying that is what is happening here but there is more to the phone debate than market share. I use an Android phone. But I spend no more than 400 bucks and keep it a year and a half to two years tops. A true flagship (800 and up) would require me to keep it longer. If I we’re doing that, no comparison…iPhone. I believe the 5s is still updated and that’s what…a 2014 model. Meanwhile my Xperia eagerly awaiting Nougat…

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