Nosing Into a New Era: BMW Concept I4

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

No, this isn’t the grille-heavy Concept 4 BMW released last year — it’s the Concept i4, a preview of the electric sedan slated for production next year. That other concept heralded the next-generation 4 Series.

Sporting four doors and a front-end design BMW adamantly believes will attract more buyers than it repels, the Concept i4 closely parallels the production model. Clearly, Tesla will have the faceless car market all to itself.

The odd i3 and unattainably pricey i8 are yesterday’s version of emissions-free (or partly emissions-free) BMW motoring. The i4, along with the upcoming — and even more conventional — iX3, are the future.

Appearing in Gran Coupe form, the Concept i4 hints strongly at the form of the next-gen 4 Series Gran Coupe. According to Roadshow, the two cars are kissin’ cousins, profile-wise. Meanwhile, lead designer Kai Langer told the publication that the Concept i4 is an 85-percent accurate representation of the production i4.

Boasting distinctive rear-drive proportions, the Concept i4 whispers to prospective customers that, despite lacking an internal combustion powerplant and harmonious exhaust note, it remains a BMW through and through. Output will be plentiful, topping out at 530 horsepower, and so will range. While BMW didn’t detail build configurations and battery choice, the most long-legged of the pack will be able to cover 373 miles on the optimistic WLTP cycle. The EPA figure should come in at 270 miles.

Rear-drive/all-wheel drive availability was not mentioned, though BMW does say the model will carry a single electric motor.

While the i4 stands to heave a greater heft than its gas-powered counterpart (despite being a fifth-generation design, the battery pack slung beneath the production model will top 1,200 pounds), BMW still claims a 0-60 mph time of about 4 seconds.

With its long hood, abbreviated trunk lid, and slippery roofline, the Concept i4 looks great from the side. Controversy only erupts when we get to the front. And yet there’s no stopping grille creep in Munich — in this application the brand’s swelling kidneys play an alternative role: as an “intelligence panel” hosting various driver-assist sensors.

Series production of the i4 starts in Germany in 2021.

[Images: BMW]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Retrocrank Retrocrank on Mar 04, 2020

    And while on the topic of nose, I wonder if the marketing boys at BMW have been working on a geriatrics version of this thing....with that "grill", they could add some large tufts of fuzzy stuff to be dealer install. Option 73G: Nose hairs.

  • Moparmann Moparmann on Mar 04, 2020

    It would appear that BMW is presenting its own version of the bizarre anime inspired "Toyotafication" design language.

  • Geozinger Put in the veggie garden (Western Michigan, we still can get frost this late in the year) finished the remainder of the landscaping updates and hand washed both my beater Pontiac and the Town and Country! Going to the beach today...
  • Rochester I wouldn't obsess over the rate of change, it's happening whether we want it or not.
  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.