Although much of the talk coming from BMW about its upcoming EV efforts is centered around iNext, it is models like the iX3 and i4 that will likely be the real volume sellers. This week, BMW released some long-awaited concrete details about the all-electric Gran Coupé-styled i4, and the specifics line up very nicely with what the automaker has been teasing all along. The i4 won’t be here until 2021, but when it arrives it will offer impressive acceleration and range that should allow it to go head to head with other counterparts in its segment.
The fifth-generation eDrive technology used in the i4 will first come to market with the Chinese-built iX3, where it is expected to provide for a maximum range of 250 miles. The i4 will obviously weigh a bit less than the SAV, and the highest model variant of the i4 comes with an 80-kilowatt hour battery pack that occupies space beneath the floor. This battery will allow a maximum range of 373 miles according to BMW, although the official EPA figure is expected to be a bit different (lower).
Acceleration from zero-to-60 mph in a mere 4.0 seconds is claimed by BMW, which is made possible by the eDrive motor delivering the equivalent of 530 horsepower and accompanying torque. This is where things get interesting, as when word of the official stats broke, automotive news media outlets were quick to point out how the 530-horsepower figure eclipses that of both the current and upcoming M3 and M4. Currently equipped with 425 horsepower, the outgoing F80 M3 will soon be replaced by the next generation, which is expected to come in a few different versions, with as much as 500 horsepower, just like the X3 M and X4 M Competition which use the same S58 M inline-six.
BMW went as far as to compare to the eDrive powertrain in the i4 to their current turbocharged V8 engines. If you’re looking for motivation comparable to what’s going to power the i4, you’d need to buy something like an M850i Gran Coupé, or the latest version of the M550i xDrive, both of which come with an M Performance 523-horsepower N63 engine. BMW’s acceleration claim is a bit off the 3.2-second figure published by Tesla for the Model 3 Performance, but given how BMW’s behave in the real world as opposed to how they seem on paper, we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the i4 can compete with the best of them when it arrives.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]