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BMW unveils i4 electric car: a stunning Gran Coupe with a massive screen

BMW has unveiled the i4, its latest electric car, at a presentation that was planned for the Geneva Motor Show. The new prototype of this stunning Gran Coupe is still only a concept, but BMW has confirmed plans to bring a production version to market next year.

After launching the BMW i3, the brand’s first electric car, in 2013, we expected BMW to release the BMW i4, i5, etc., but it didn’t happen.

BMW didn’t release any new all-electric vehicles for seven years, but it is finally now preparing to since it plans to launch three new ones in the next two years.

The BMW iX3, an all-electric SUV, is due to go on sale by the end of the year, and the BMW i4, an all-electric sedan, and the BMW iNEXT, an all-electric crossover, are being brought to market in 2021.

Those new vehicles are all based on BMW’s upcoming fifth-generation electric powertrain.

Now the German automaker is unveiling the concept for the BMW i4 electric car.

Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design, commented:

The BMW Concept i4 brings electrification to the core of the BMW brand. The design is dynamic, clean, and elegant. In short: a perfect BMW that happens to be zero emission.

The unveiling focused on the design since we already know quite a lot about the specs of the i4. You can revisit them further down.

BMW i4 design

Domagoj Dukec, head of BMW Design, commented on the i4 Concept:

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.

Here are a few pictures released by BMW today:

The aggressive front end features an updated version of BMW’s now iconic kidney grille design.

The long, slim L-shaped rear of the i4 is resulting in strong aerodynamic performance, according to BMW.

As for the interior, it is built around a large screen, which BMW says is going to look similar in the production version of the 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.

Here are a few pictures of the interior of the BMW i4:

BMW says that drivers are going to have access to 3 “experience modes”:

  • “Core” mode introduces the driver’s area to an updated interpretation of the four “widgets” familiar from the display concept of existing models. Here, the graphics reprise the pattern above the air vents and the Gold Bronze accent colour, consciously referencing the car’s interior design. In the area where the central display used to be positioned, a map and widgets now line up alongside one another. The user can navigate around the diagonal widgets using a swipe movement and arrange them intuitively by drag-and-drop. This allows them to adapt the display to their personal preferences.
  • In “Sport” mode, the “widgets” come closer together and create a focused view. Sideways movements behind the zones are used to show how tight the next corner is, facilitating anticipatory driving. This form of content presentation also allows effective peripheral viewing. The right-hand area of the display shows specific functions in a similar way to BMW M’s lap timer app.
  • “Efficient” mode debuts an “Assisted Driving View,” which shows the driver what the car’s sensors are detecting. This Experience Mode opens up deeper insights into the car’s technology, such as how it communicates with its surroundings. In the BMW Concept i4, the focus here is on anticipatory and efficient driving, and key information for efficient driving is incorporated. The right-hand area of the display shows additional vehicle information, such as the charge level and range.

BMW i4 Specs

In terms of specs, we already know a few details about the i4’s powertrain.

BMW claims that the electric sedan is going to be able to achieve a range of 600 km (373 miles) on an 80kWh battery. They are talking about the range based on the WLTP, and the real-world range is likely going to be close to 300-320 miles on a single charge.

The automaker says that “the electric motor developed for the BMW i4 delivers a maximum output of around 390kW/530hp.”

It enables some impressive performance:

In addition to the sporty, elegant design that is typical of a 4-door coupé of the brand, the BMW i4 is characterized by impressive performance features. The BMW i brand’s first Gran Coupé accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in around 4.0 seconds, achieving a top speed of more than 200 km/h.

As for the charging capacity, BMW says that the BMW i4 will be able to charge at up to 150kW:

The next-generation charging unit is characterized by a uniform package suitable for all future vehicle architectures. It can be used in plug-in hybrid models as well as in purely electrically powered vehicles and is designed for a charging capacity of up to 150kW. This allows the high-voltage battery of the BMW i4 to be charged to around 80% of its full energy content in around 35 minutes. This results in a charging time of around six minutes for a range of 100 kilometers.

A production version of the BMW i4 concept is going to be produced at BMW’s Munich plant in 2021, and it will feature the brand’s latest level of assisted driving features.

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