BMW I4: Range and Power Won't Be a Problem, but Buyers Might

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
bmw i4 range and power wont be a problem but buyers might

That isn’t to say no one will spring for BMW’s upcoming electric sedan when it appears in 2021; rather, it will face the same hesitant marketplace all other battery-electric models must grapple with.

Revealed in a not very comprehensive manner on Monday, the BMW i4 is a propeller-logo EV that takes a more mainstream approach to gas-free driving. There are no clamshell or scissor-style doors, no bizarrely tall and narrow wheels, and not a hint of gasoline to be found anywhere. BMW feels the model’s range is sufficient to win over the anxious types.

In what may be a top-spec trim, BMW claims the i4 sedan (Gran Coupe, in Bimmer parlance) is capable of driving “around” 600 km (379 miles) between charges. While the automaker didn’t specify, this figure is certainly gained from the European WLTP driving cycle; expect a somewhat lower number from the EPA.

Boasting fifth-generation eDrive electric motor technology, BMW claims the i4’s single propulsion source is good for 530 horsepower. Power is presumably sent to the rear wheels, though the car’s modular architecture, bound for other models, could encompass a number of drive configurations.

Speed? It’s there, too. Zero to 62 mph is said to be a 4-second proposition. Handling is aided by a low center of gravity born from a flat, energy-dense underfloor battery pack. The automaker claims the 80 kWh pack can handle charging to the tune of 150 kW, which translates into an 80-percent charge in 35 minutes. Or, put another way, 100 km added in 6 minutes. (You might be in a hurry.)

Assembled in Munich alongside the 3 Series, the i4 will join the iNEXT and iX3 crossovers in BMW’s EV vanguard. The oddball i3 continues in service, albeit with the upgraded motor and battery tech. By 2023, some 25 electrified vehicles — meaning both electric and plug-in hybrid — will proliferate throughout the brand’s lineup.

While a surge of buyers cannot be accurately anticipated, one thing’s for sure: the i4’s lack of internal combustion might keep that grille in check.

[Images: BMW Group]

Join the conversation
2 of 15 comments
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Nov 18, 2019

    I'll be surprised if this is priced reasonably - I'll bet it starts in the upper 50's with vinyl seats. It looks like a 3 series that's about to take a dump.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 18, 2019

    "By 2023, some 25 electrified vehicles — meaning both electric and plug-in hybrid — will proliferate throughout the brand’s lineup." Only 25? Tesla makes half a million vehicles a year. How they planning to compete with 25 vehicles?

  • Wjtinfwb Over the years I've owned 3, one LH (a Concorde) a Gen 1 300 and a Gen 2 300C "John Varvatos". The Concorde was a very nice car for the time with immense room inside and decent power from the DOHC 3.5L. But quality was awful, it spent more time in the shop than the driveway. It gave way to a Gen 1 300, OK but the V6 was underwhelming in this car compared to the Concorde but did it's job. The Gen 1's letdown was the awful interior with acres of plastic, leather that did it's best imitation of vinyl and a featureless dashboard that looked lifted from a cheaper car. My last one was a '14 300C John Varvatos with the Pentastar. Great car, sufficient power and exceptional highway mileage. The interior was much better than the original as well. It was felled by a defective instrument cluster that took over 90 days to fix and was ultimately lemon law' d back to FCA. I'd love one of the 392 powered final edition 300s but understand they're already sold out and if I had an extra 60k available, would likely choose a CPO BMW 540i for comparable money.
  • Dukeisduke Thanks Cary. Folks need to make sure they buy the correct antifreeze, since there are so many OEM-specific ones out there nowadays (Dex-Cool, Ford gold, Toyota red and pink, etc.).And sorry to hear about your family situation - my wife and I have been dealing with her 88-yo mom, moving her into independent senior living, selling her house, etc. It's a lot to deal with.
  • FreedMike Always lusted after that first-gen 300 - particularly the "Heritage Edition," which had special 300 badging and a translucent plastic steering wheel (ala the '50s and '60s "letter cars").
  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.