2021 BMW i4
What to expect
- A fully electric vehicle with 270 miles of range
- V8-like power and performance
- A fairly complete concept of the forthcoming first-generation BMW i4
What is it?
While other markets around the world will enjoy the next generation of BMW electric vehicles with the iX3, U.S. customers will have their fears of missing out allayed with the forthcoming i4. BMW recently unveiled the Concept i4, which is a very good indication of what we can expect when the final version of the i4 goes into production in 2021.
The sleek sedan (BMW insists on calling it a "Gran Coupe") is projected by BMW to have a range of 270 miles and produce 530 horsepower. It further claims it will accelerate to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and reach a top speed of 124 mph.
When it comes to the Concept i4's styling, we're still wincing at its oversized and angular twin-kidney grilles that invoke those on last year's 4 Series concept. Then again, anytime BMW futzes with the grille, people tend to react harshly, only to reach acceptance later. Otherwise, the exterior design is a pleasant adaptation of existing BMW cues with a healthy dose of next-generation flavor. Much of the shape is dictated by aerodynamic efficiency, yet it doesn't look as awkward as some other EVs.
Since engine cooling isn't an issue, those massive grilles are being referred to as intelligence panels. They'll house several sensors for advanced safety features as well as systems to maximize range and performance. The wheels are also designed for efficiency, with an aerodynamic shape and lightweight construction.
The i4's interior styling may be evocative enough to forget about the grille, with a beautifully simple layout that is dominated by a large curved display. The cockpit itself is still centered around the driver, which leads us to believe the i4 will forgo emerging automated driving tech for the immediate future. There is a notable lack of physical buttons, however, which has been met with mixed reactions when it comes to real-world usability.
Finally, there's sound. BMW has taken a more novel approach to counteract the eerie silence that EVs are known for. The automaker's collaborated with film composer Hans Zimmer to create several sound experiences that occupants can choose from. It's unlikely we'll get the relentless cellos from The Dark Knight, but one could hope.
It's been a long time coming for a next-generation EV from BMW. We're still fans of the i3, and this new i4 should have even greater appeal. If the initial range and power estimates are realized in production, the future will look brighter and greener for BMW. About that grille, though ...