By on March 3, 2020


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]

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18 Comments on “Nosing Into a New Era: BMW Concept i4...”

  • avatar

    BMW is screwed, and this model is a tell of them gasping for relevance.

    The entire car is summed up by the giant grille, which is the result of the ‘brand managers’ coming in and saying “IT NEEDS AUTHENTIC.” So they took a list of attributes that made desirable 20 years ago, picked the most vestigial, and settled on “WELL WE GOT THE KIDNEY GRILLE AND MADE IT HUGE.”

    Let’s be real – BMW is just riding out the nostalgia of the E30-E46 era to hawk leased mall crawlers and the occasional rental to a guy who missed out on his youth. Tesla ran off with their customer base, and BMW’s internal infighting with the i3 / i8 means they lost their shot at the electric party.

    • 0 avatar

      1) The core BMW customer base is “people who want to show off that they own a BMW”, I think.

      2) Tesla isn’t stealing their actual customers; BMW sold 70,000 X3s last year, and 54,000 X5s – more than any of the sedans. BMW is an SUV maker with halo sedans, like everyone else (except for the “halo” part).

      3) Leases? Sure, but people also buy those used ones willingly enough; it’s not like the market is flooded with X3s that are two years old that Nobody Will Buy. Indeed, most of the lease CPO cars I see in a spot check are ghastly 320s, which see #1.

  • avatar

    Looks like the unholy spawn of the Chevy Malibu and…well…er…congratulations BMW, you have come up with something so hideous that no known entity can embody it.

  • avatar

    If “fingernails on the chalkboard” were a car, this would be it.

  • avatar

    Ohh Jeez they even got that patent pending Chinese rear end treatment, this thing is awful in every way.

  • avatar

    BMW is making the right call here. You gotta sell what you got. What BMW has is kidneys.

    And what Mercedes has is a three-pointed star. Which is why we see three-pointed stars the size of dinner plates (and headed for satellite dish territory).

    10-15(-20?) years from now when all the EV powertrain components are commoditized, the only unique thing your brand will have… is branding. (That and the dealership experience, which is also headed for significant change.)

  • avatar

    The grille is like the 1969 Pontiac Firebird got beat with the ugly stick.

  • avatar

    Doesn’t look like a BMW, but it’s a perfectly nice electric sedan, and something I’d consider as a commuter if I commuted by car.

  • avatar
    Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

    Olds Aurora with a pig snout mask.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    “That other website” has a vintage Motor Trend comparison test of the Marauder X-100, Pontiac Grand Prix, Olds Toronado, Buick Riviera and Ford Thunderbird. MT was quite critical of the Merc’s size and poor handling but it finished second to the Grand Prix in acceleration and the X-100 had the best brakes by a fair margin. Ultimately MT liked the Thunderbird as best overall.

  • avatar

    Wow. That IS HIDEOUS.

  • avatar

    I like it. Looks a LOT better than any Tesla currently on the market.

  • avatar


    The story just below this one is VW’s ID.4, a small electric suv that looks better than this.

    BMW sedans have boomerang’d back to the ugliness of the Bangle era.

    • 0 avatar

      @jkross22. Yeah, but if you’re on a back road and a large tree falls across it, does the ID4 have giant beaver teeth to knaw through it like this BMW? I think not!

  • avatar

    What is so prestigious about BMW? It never was a prestigious brand – just little sporty compact. It was not in the same league with Cadillac, Lincoln and Mercedes.

    If you remember in movie “Donnie Brasco” (highly recommended) wise guys were fascinated with Lincolns and Cadillacs with velour interiors with Mercedes thrown there for good measure as a sign of things to come.

  • avatar

    Somebody blow its nose. Quickly. Please.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

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

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