One of the highlights of the Geneva International Motor Show that didn’t happen this week (coronavirus fears) was the planned introduction of the BMW i4. As with many other planned GIMS rollouts, it took place virtually or at the automaker’s headquarters. BMW’s “Gran Coupe” is a stunning EV with a bit dashboard LCD, four doors, a really big grille, and a slightly different BMW logo.
What BMW showed is the i4 concept car, albeit a concept that hews closely to what the production car will look like. Nothing too far out at all. While some specs are in flux, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said it will have a range of 600 kilometers (equal to 373 miles) based on WLTP testing (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) and 0-100 kph (62 mph) acceleration of less than four seconds. Range in miles using EPA testing will be around 270 miles, BMW says. BMW hasn’t talked price yet, but BMW is a premium car company, and EVs carry a premium price tag. Some of the EV cost delta will be recovered in lower maintenance costs.
The i4 powertrain will have an electric motor rated at 390 kW or 530 hp. The battery pack will be 80 kWh (the largest batteries on Tesla are 100 kWh). It can charge at up to 150 kW and return to 80 percent capacity in “around 35 minutes,” BMW says. “This results in a charging time of around six minutes for a range of 100 kilometers.” Top speed will be more than 200 km/h or about 125 mph.
BMW says there will be three “experience modes,” which isn’t quite a driving mode where engine and suspension settings change. They are called Core, Sport, and Efficient. The Efficient mode “Assisted Driving View” replicates for the driver what the car’s sensors are sensing.
Here’s what else BMW has to say about its vehicle:
The interior of the BMW Concept i4 focuses on those times when the driver chooses to pilot the car themselves. To this end, every element in the front of the cabin is trained on the driver. The new BMW Curved Display teams up with the steering wheel to reveal a new take on driver orientation and offers a look ahead to the display in the production versions of the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4. Here, the presentation surfaces of the information display and Control Display merge into a single unit inclined toward the driver. This screen grouping optimizes presentation of information and makes the display’s touch operation more intuitive. Advanced display tech with non-reflective glass also removes the need for a shroud to shade the displays and therefore contributes to an extremely uncluttered and airy cockpit.
… The design of the BMW Concept i4 shows fantastic proportions, a powerfully expressive character and, of course, a lot of attention to detail. With the BMW Curved Display, we have redefined BMW’s signature driver focus in an extremely elegant way. At the same time, the BMW Concept i4 transports a feeling of sustainable driving pleasure.
This is BMW’s first new EV in seven years, since the i3, which continues and will get a second-generation delivered this year. According to BMW, “Series production of the new BMW i4 will begin in 2021 at the BMW Group’s main plant in Munich.” But BMW added that for US customers, our production will be in the first half of 2022. The US plant in Spartanburg, SC, is for SUVs only.
While BMW doesn’t yet have the market clout of Tesla, it makes more models that are electrified – primarily plug-in hybrids – and in the US has six EV or PHEV models, more than any other automaker.
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