BMW is pushing ahead with its EV product expansion under its i banner having up to now launched successfully the i3 since 2015. The i8 hybrid sports car, which also launched at the same time, and was well-received around the world, has since been put out to pasture with production having ceased in 2020.
Now a new model, the i4, which is essentially an electrically powered variant of the forthcoming 4 Series Gran Coupe, will imminently be joining the fray as the Bavarian brand makes final tweaks to the model. The final testing programme is to fine-tune the chassis and driving dynamics components, to make it drive like a BMW should.
As it has been well-documented, both the 3 Series and 4 Series have struck a fine balance between dynamics and ride comfort - consistently setting the benchmark within their respective segments in the premium market. In terms of electrically powered vehicles, the new BMW i4 is set to take on this role very soon.
“For the first time, we’ve developed a BMW with sporty DNA for purely electric driving entirely from scratch,” explains project manager David Alfredo Ferrufino Camacho. “The BMW i4 offers everything BMW stands for – and it’s fully electric, too.”
A few months prior to its world premiere, the BMW i4 is currently completing the final phase of driving dynamics testing. The focus here is on the integrated application of all drive and suspension components, ensuring that the spontaneous power delivery of the electric motor is combined with precisely controllable handling in every situation, fascinating cornering dynamics, optimised traction in all weather and road conditions and perfectly balanced ride comfort.
For the purpose of this fine-tuning process, the BMW Group applies its technological expertise in the areas of drive and suspension drawn from decades of experience. This gives the new BMW i4 a mature premium character and makes for a driving experience that is unique within the competitive environment.
Boasting a maximum output of up to 390 kW, the i4 will certainly be no slouch off the line, said to reach 100 km/h from rest in just 4 seconds. But even more impressive than its pure sprint capacity is the driving response it conveys. A model-specific damper technology is said to reduce pitching movements of the body on initial pull-off, while the wheel slip limitation (ARB) is said to yield optimum traction and perfect straight-line stability at all times – even on slippery road surfaces.
Impressive straight line acceleration is only but one aspect of the superior performance characteristics that define the BMW i4. Other distinguishing features include its spontaneous reactions to driver inputs – not just of the accelerator pedal but also of the steering and the brake pedal. The prerequisites for this high level of agility and precision are hinged on a few parameters. This includes the car's long wheelbase, wide track widths, model-specific camber values, large wheels, as well as the high torsional rigidity and the vehicle’s low centre of gravity and weight balance.
“The BMW i4 conveys the feeling of being light and agile yet also solid and authoritative,” says project manager David Alfredo Ferrufino Camacho. “With its superior directional reliability and high level of cornering stability, it seems to literally attach itself to the road. All electric vehicles are capable of fast straight-line acceleration. But that’s not enough for us at BMW.”
Even with such unbridled performance, the i4 is said to offer 600 km of driving range according to the WLTP cycle, but this will likely be dependent on driving style.
There are also talks of an M fettled model of the i4 down the line, which will appease those with even higher adrenaline thresholds. At this stage, there’s no actual timelines of the i4's launch in Mzansi, suffice to say it will only likely be in 2022 as the iX3 (essentially an all-electric X3 SUV) is the only confirmed EV from the marque to come to our shores in the fourth quarter of 2021.