For fans of BMW and fairweather automotive enthusiasts, the seductive yet teasing fan dance that BMW has produced around the release of the i4 has left many waiting with bated breath. Would this new introduction be a viable rival to the wildly popular electric powerhouses coming out of California? Will consumers even take it seriously? Will this new model end up being something like the i8 and i3 –conceptually brilliant but weak to the receptive audiences? As BMW sculpted and planned, the car community buzzed with rumors and opinions. This static did nothing but fuel the curiosity of many, and upon release left few disappointed.
The grand unveiling of BMWs new energy-efficient sedan was foreshadowed by massive public confusion and preoccupation with the Coronavirus. The release was slated to be a true work of art, but was squelched after the Geneva Auto Show was canceled in response to the outbreaks. In a last-second scrap to maintain the mystery, BMW pulled off a makeshift ta-da from Munich. Onlookers were treated to a glimpse of electric perfection on wheels.
The i4 is quite different from previous attempts BMW has made with their electric offerings. Unlike the comically designed and underpowered i3, the i4 is a real car with real acceleration. Early speculation was that BMW is trying to replicate the Tesla Model 3. However, the i4 isn’t a knock off for the sake of grabbing a corner of the market. Rather, it’s a carefully crafted and built purebred BMW. But without the carbon footprint.
Wildly impressive acceleration propels this high-end electric from 0-to-62 mph in four seconds flat. Although that number is markedly slower than the Model 3, perspective should be had. A gas-burning 428i takes almost two extra seconds to traverse that same distance. Every hard acceleration takes an equally hard toll on the energy bank. This, however, isn’t a detriment!
With a range of 372 miles per charge, you can feel free to be a little harder on the pedal during short trips. At heart, the i4 is still an “Ultimate Driving Machine.” The electric aspect doesn’t change that one bit. In addition to an impressive 0-to-60 time, the top speed of 124 mph is nothing to shrug off. Neither is the 530 horsepower that seems to magically appear when you need them.
To further create a unique persona their new model, BMW opted to use the slogan “Sheer Driving Pleasure” to caption photographs of the i4. In a brilliant concoction of heritage and forward-thinking, the i4 pays respect to the first days of BMW’s efficient dynamics protocol. The reduction of emissions has occurred at almost an exponential rate and is finally dropped to zero.
The styling of the i4 is more sedan-like than a futuristic electric car. If you’re able to peer past the controversial gaping grille, you’ll find a body style that is charming and practical. The headlights appear to grimace at the pavement, ready to chew it up at any given moment.
Aesthetically, the i4 gives the vibe of a solid sedan, with muscular haunches to boot. The B-pillar sweeps rearward in a Grand Coupe styling, which affords rear-seat passengers ample headroom. From the side profile, the unassuming passerby would probably never notice it’s electric.
Conceptually, the i4 takes many interior notes from the i3. An artistically curved dash panel transforms an otherwise mundane interior into a focal point. In the grand scheme of the interior, the dash pad becomes just a frame around a seemingly endless sea of buttons. The beauty of its design is swept under the rug by technology that looks like it came straight from a space ship. This new curved cockpit design is intended to keep the driver engaged in what is really important — the road ahead. How the driver is supposed to ignore all of those bells and whistles has yet to be determined.
Trims and Features
While behind the wheel, the driver will have three distinct experience modes to choose from. The i4 comes in Core, Sport, and Efficient trims. These experiences, surprisingly have nothing to do with powertrain performance. Selecting Core removes excessive options. The Sport model will anticipate corners. The Efficient trim feeds you a stream of sensor information.
Every version also has its own piped-in engine noise to accompany it. While in Core mode, you’ll be treated to a melodious engine note. Sport mode will give you the exact opposite. If anything, these options allow you to transform your cabin into a different car for every trip. You can even alter the ambient lighting to suit your mood. If that isn’t distracting, what is? After all, who doesn’t want fake engine noise and mood lights?
Those afraid to hop into the deep end of the electric vehicle pool, have no fear! BMW has almost instinctively worked this into the buying plan. They are planning to offer a very respectable warranty program. With any new technology comes public leeriness and uncertainty. Should any problem occur with any of the electric components, you’re covered for a full 100,000 miles or eight years. There’s also a more limited warranty that covers 50,000 miles and four years. The i4 will also come with complimentary maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles, if that moves the needle for you at all.
The i4 is slated to go into actual production in 2021, with the primary assembly plant located in Munich. They claim the car will be on sale by the end of the same year. Although BMW has a couple of electric cars under its belt, a large scale reconfiguration of the existing plant will occur before the first bolt is tightened. In an official release, BMW has proclaimed they were trying to re-purpose as many machines as possible. The total estimated investment in the i4 project is slated to be somewhere in the ballpark of 200 million euros. With that sort of investment, you know this car isn’t going to be a flop.
In summary, here’s what we know:
- The i4 offers top of the line performance which rivals cars like the Model 3.
- If you look passed the surprised-looking grille, the exterior styling isn’t bad.
- You’ll be able to haul your friends around in zero-emission comfort and style.
- Settings can be utilized to create a petrol-like experience without ever having to stop at a fuel pump.
- Fear of the future shouldn’t be an issue, BMW has your back with a fantastic warranty.
- As a high-end electric sports car, there really isn’t much more you could ask for.
- Price? No official word yet, but early predictions start the bare bones base model around $50,000.
The Last Word
The most significant question mark with the i4 remains public approval. Will die-hard BMW fans who love listening to their own engines rev be receptive to an all-electric grocery-getter? The pools of enthusiast forums and newsfeeds are filled with a lukewarm reception and skepticism. Can this stylish sedan really take the place of a growling gas-burner? Are the purists going to get over their narrow-minded mentality and open their arms to a genuinely great EV?