New BMW i4: EV's 'benchmark' handling detailed in new video

BMW i4 sliding

German firm’s 4 Series-based EV enters final phase of dynamics testing before debut this year with 523bhp

BMW has released new images, a new video and fresh detail of its i4 electric saloon ahead of the car’s unveiling later this year. 

The latest official shots of thinly disguised prototypes were taken as part of the brand’s final phase of dynamic testing of the model, which is closely linked in design to the yet-to-be-revealed 4 Series Gran Coupé

BMW claims this fine-tuning will ensure “that the spontaneous power delivery of the electric motor is combined with precisely controllable handling in every situation, fascinating cornering dynamic, optimised traction in all weather and road conditions and perfectly balanced ride comfort”. 

The i4 will get its own damping system design to reduce “dipping movements of the body” under acceleration or braking. An “actuator-related wheel slip limitation” system aims to boost traction and stability, too. 

The new model, due to go into production in the third quarter of this year before a market debut in early 2022, will be the German firm’s first electric saloon. Along with the regular 4 Series, the new EV has been previewed by various concepts and testing prototypes. BMW claims the i4 “heralds a new era of driving pleasure” and will feature the firm’s “hallmark brand driving pleasure in a particularly concentrated form.”

UPDATED: BMW i4 electric saloon shown in near-production form

BMW has also confirmed that the i4 will make use of its fifth-generation eDrive system, which is also being used on the iX3 and the new flagship iX SUV.

BMW claims the 523bhp motors will allow for a 0-62mph time of around four seconds. The firm says output has been chosen to mirror the power of a V8 engine in current BMW models and claims the set-up will offer “outstanding performance characteristics and exceptionally high efficiency”.

The latest eDrive system is built around a modular system featuring the electric motor, transmission and power electronics in a single housing, which, BMW says, means it can be used for a range of different models and power outputs. The i4 will feature an 80kWh high-voltage battery pack that weighs around 550kg and gives a claimed range of around 373 miles. The battery can be charged at rates of up to 150kW. 

As shown in previous prototype shots, a clear visual link between the i4 and the latest 3 Series can be seen. The i4 will share much of its design with the upcoming second-generation 4 Series

However, a side-on view reveals that the new car appears higher off the ground (both in terms of roof height and ground clearance) than the current 4 Series, likely due to a raised floor to accommodate the sizeable long-range battery.

The i4 is scheduled to be built on the same line as standard 3 Series and 4 Series models at BMW’s factory in Munich, Germany. To ensure a smooth production process with existing petrol, diesel and hybrid models, the manufacturer is already running assembly tests with pre-production versions.

The expansion of the i sub-brand will ensure BMW can keep up with the European Union’s fleet average CO2 emission reduction of 35% by 2030. The ruling effectively spells an end to the combustion engine as a sole source of propulsion for high-volume cars sold in Europe by the end of the next decade.

This was expected by BMW’s top management, who initiated the acceleration of development of both long-range plug-in hybrids and electric models in 2018. Chairman Harald Krüger confirmed the altered i division plan, which aims to enable BMW to offer more electric cars than any rival premium brand in the short term.

It called for the introduction of up to five dedicated i models by the end of 2021, with tentative steps to expand to 12 electric models within the whole BMW Group, including Mini and Rolls-Royce, by 2025.

Krüger has also given the green light for 25 new plug-in hybrid models to be introduced by 2025 in order to meet the 2030 target.

Talking about the i4, Krüger said: “The leading factors that will set it apart are fantastic design, which is very different to anything else on the road, and the fact that it is lighter and therefore more dynamic than anything we see on the market today, thanks to the materials we will use. Couple that with the connectivity technology we are constantly developing and we are confident it will lead the market.”


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Source: Autocar

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