2021 BMW i4 electric car shown in production-ready form
The BMW i4 is an upcoming electric executive car which promises up to 373 miles between charges. Here's everything you need to know...
On sale: Autumn 2021 | Price from: £48,000 (est)
The BMW i4 is here to prove that executive car luxury and planet-saving electric technology can go hand in hand, and has been shown in production-ready form for the first time.
Although the i4 was revealed in concept form last March, this version is the one you'll be able to buy when sales begin towards the end of this year, and takes design inspiration from the existing 4 Series coupé.
The i4 aims to offer the same blend of comfort and long-distance range that has made the Tesla Model 3 fly off the proverbial shelves, and is the fourth car in BMW’s ‘i’ range of electric cars, following on from the i3 hatchback and the i8 sports car, as well as the BMW iX SUV.
The i4 will be available with up to 523bhp coming from a single electric motor, as well as four-wheel drive. It can sprint to 62mph in around 4sec – faster than most versions of the Model 3 – and has a range of up to 366 miles.
While the larger Tesla Model S luxury saloon offers slightly more range, at 379 miles on the WLTP test cycle, the i4 will comfortably get you further between charges than the Model 3. Energy is fed from an 80kW battery pack.
Like the Model 3, versions of the i4 with a smaller battery and rear-wheel drive are likely to arrive before long, reducing the car’s purchase price. A high-performance M-badged version will crown the i4 range.
Inside, the i4 represents the next generation of BMW interiors, featuring a giant screen for both infotainment and digital instruments. Unlike most other models, it’s controlled by a rotary dial on the centre console rather than being solely touch sensitive, which should make it far easier to use on the move.
The i4 will come with BMW's latest eighth-generation iDrive infotainment system, which features over-the-air updates so new features can be added without the need to visit a dealer, and a smart personal assistant which can understand natural speech and makes suggestions as you drive.
Buyers can also choose between Core, Sport and Efficient driving modes, which prioritise range or performance. These modes alter the car’s graphics and lighting, as well as its dynamic properties – and each mode has a unique sound developed in co-operation with Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer.
Don’t expect pricing to be revealed until next year at the earliest, but we’d expect the i4 to cost from around £48,000, making it competitive with Long Range versions of the Model 3, which cost from £46,990. It's worth noting that since the i4 should cost less than £50,000, it will also qualify for the Government's £3000 grant for electric vehicles.
Interestingly, the i4 is one of a number of new i-branded BMWs due to be launched in the next few years. The full range will be on sale by 2025, and includes small and large SUVs as well as replacements for today’s i3 and i8.
Unveiling the i4 for the first time, BMW officials confirmed that sister brand Mini would launch its last combustion-engined car in 2025, and would be fully electric by the early 2030s. That's handy, since you won't be able to buy a petrol or diesel-engined car beyond 2030. BMW's other car brand, Rolls-Royce, will also be going electric, although no other details have been revealed so far.