The new, all-electric BMW i4 has a 367 mile range, is priced from £51,905 and is due for UK launch in November 2021.
The BMW i4 will be available in three different model variants from launch, including the first ever BMW M car with all-electric drive, the BMW i4 M50.
Equipped with electric motors at both the front and rear axle with a combined maximum output of 544hp and M-specific chassis technology, it offers a range of up to 316 miles in the WLTP test cycle.
In the BMW i4 eDrive40 Sport and BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport, a 340hp electric motor is combined with rear-wheel drive and delivers a WLTP range of up to 367 miles.
The BMW i4 has a Combined Charging Unit which allows use of DC high-power charging stations with an output of up to 200kW. Range of up to 102 miles (BMW i4 eDrive40) and 87 miles (BMW i4 M50) can be delivered within a 10-minute charging stop.
The i4 eDrive40 in both the Sport and M Sport specification includes 18-inch alloy wheels and the Live Cockpit, plus such standard equipment as a reversing camera, Parking Assistant, automatic air conditioning, ambient lighting, LED lights front and back and acoustic protection for pedestrians.
The BMW i4 eDrive40, with a 367 mile range, costs £51,905 in Sport trim and £53,405 in M Sport trim, and the i4 M50, with a 316 mile range, costs £63,905.
The BMW i4 will be produced at BMW Group Plant Munich. Its production, which is performed alongside petrol, diesel and plug-in-hybrid models on the same line, marks the beginning of a new era for the manufacturing facility. The BMW Group invested around 200 million Euros in the company’s home plant to cover the necessary disassembly and conversion work for the production machinery. Both the BMW i4 and its battery cells will be manufactured using 100 per cent green energy.
The BMW i4 standard chassis technology’s features include the lift-related dampers, rear air suspension, electromechanical steering with Servotronic function, integrated braking system, DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system and near-actuator wheel slip limitation. The BMW i4 M50 boasts a bespoke adaptive M suspension with individually configured springs and dampers, specially designed anti-roll bars and an additional spring strut tower brace in the front end, along with variable sport steering, M Sport brakes and M light-alloy wheels up to 20 inches in diameter with mixed-size tyres. There’s also a fully electric all-wheel-drive system.
The fully variable all-wheel drive system can choose the right form of power transmission for the full range of requirements, from pure rear-wheel drive through to an all-wheel-drive set-up that maximises traction. Normally, power is relayed solely to the rear wheels of the BMW i4 M50 to increase its efficiency and range. At higher levels of acceleration or in response to wheel slip, the motor acting on the front wheels assumes just the right share of the drive power to optimise driving dynamics and directional stability.
Near-actuator wheel slip limitation is fitted on both versions of the rear-wheel-drive BMW i4 eDrive40 and the all-wheel-drive BMW i4 M50. The near-actuator wheel slip limitation is designed to bring the advantages of rear-wheel drive to the world of electric mobility in BMW i4 eDrive40 variants, whereas in the BMW i4 M50 it is set up for optimum, rear-biased distribution of drive torque between the two axles.
The high-voltage battery is positioned low down in the vehicle floor, bringing about a drop in the centre of gravity of 34mm (BMW i4 M50) or 53mm (BMW i4 eDrive40 Sport and M Sport) compared to a 3 Series Saloon.
Standard specification for all model variants also includes rear air suspension, whose automatic self-levelling feature keeps the car at a constant ride-height even when carrying a heavy load.
While the motor management’s integrated near-actuator wheel slip limitation function mostly halts loss of traction while accelerating, the DSC system is responsible for optimising directional stability and steering capability in demanding situations by selectively applying the brakes at individual wheels. Its primary functions include the Anti-lock Braking System, traction control system and electronic stability control. The easily activated Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) mode allows a higher degree of wheel slip. It is also easy to engage the DSC off mode.
Fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology – comprising the electric motors, power electronics, charging technology and high-voltage battery – results in an improvement in power density over the electric drive system in the 2020 BMW i3 of around 30 per cent.
The high operating range of the BMW i4 can also be attributed to the gravimetric energy density of its high-voltage battery, which has been upped by 20 per cent in comparison to the BMW i3. At the same time, maximum charging capacity for the latest-generation batteries has now been increased to 210kW.
The electric motors developed in-house by the BMW Group have an efficiency factor of 93 per cent in their latest version. They not only better the figures achieved by current combustion engines (less than 40 per cent), but also rank among the leading electric drive units in their class. The range of the BMW i4 is underpinned by efficiency rather than ever larger batteries.
The BMW i4 M50 – the first ever fully-electric BMW M model – is powered by a 190kW electric motor at the front axle and a 230kW version at the rear, which combine to produce 544hp. The flagship model’s electric all-wheel-drive system allows drive torque to be adjusted with speed and precision: the power generated instantaneously by its 340hp electric motor is channelled to the road via the rear wheels.
A specially designed boost function that can be activated on demand brings the BMW M model’s high-performance character even more to the fore. The Sport Boost function increases the system’s combined drive power by 68hp to its maximum of 544hp for over ten seconds. At the same time, combined torque is upped by 65Nm to 795Nm. The burst of speed is accompanied by an M-specific soundtrack which was composed in collaboration with Hans Zimmer.
Activating the Sport Boost function enables the BMW i4 M50 to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 3.9 seconds. The Sport Boost effect can also be triggered several times in succession if the high-voltage battery has sufficient charge. The BMW i4 M50 has an electronically governed top speed of 140mph.
New charging technology is also part of the fifth-generation BMW eDrive toolkit, with the Combined Charging Unit (CCU).
Hooking up the high-voltage battery to a conventional domestic power socket or a Wallbox allows it to be fed with AC power from both single-phase and three-phase mains connections, at a charging rate of up to 11kW. Using this method, the BMW i4 can recharge its battery from totally empty to 100 per cent in under 8.5 hours.
A significantly higher charging output – and the shorter charging times this enables – can be accessed by using a DC high-power charging station. The BMW i4 can charge its high-voltage battery there at up to 200kW. So when hooked up to high-power charging stations, it can take enough energy on board in just ten minutes to increase range by 102 miles in the BMW i4 eDrive40 and 87 miles in the case of the BMW i4 M50.
BMW i4 models in the UK are supplied complete with the Flexible Charger offering a charging rate of up to 11kW and a mode 3 charging cable for public charging stations. Retail customers purchasing their i4 via the BMW UK Retail Network will receive a BMW Charging card that facilitates access to special tariffs offered by the BMW Charging network. This allows electrical power to be replenished at an attractive price at both public and high-power charging stations. In addition, ‘bp pulse’ and ‘IONITY Plus’ packages are offered to i4 customers without a subscription fee for the first 12 months of ownership. With these additional benefits, BMW i4 customers in the UK gain access to one of the world’s largest public charging networks, using just one RFID card or App.
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