BMW has a lot riding on the upcoming i4 electric saloon. It's the first long-range all-electric car that BMW will be offering and fits into the brand's conventional styling. If it doesn't live up to expectations, it will cast doubt over whether or not BMW is ready to transition to electric vehicles.
But what about the BMW i3, doesn't that count? Well, not really, let me explain. The i3, and the i8 to some extent, was more of an experiment than anything else for BMW. The i3 was unlike any BMW made, and without the BMW roundel on the bonnet, nobody would have guessed it was actually from Munich.
The i3 was designed so it wouldn't compete with any other BMW, therefore not cannibalising sales from their existing lineup. That's not true for the i4. That vehicle will directly compete with BMW's ICE offerings.
BMW used the i3 & i8 to push the limits on using experimental materials like CFRP bodies, and kenaf interior panels. They also reinvented the manufacturing process to use 70% less water while making the i cars than they do with their conventionally-fuelled vehicles.
Gallery: 2022 BMW i4 teasers
However, BMW is now 6 years into selling electric vehicles, and besides a couple battery upgrades, they haven't really progressed very much since the i3 started rolling off the assembly line in 2013.
There was hope that the iX3 would be a worthy all-electric offering, but the recent news that BMW has decided to delay, and perhaps cancel, the vehicle's introduction to North America was disappointing.
Enter the 2021 BMW i4. It looks like a BMW, and it has 530 bhp so it should perform like a BMW. Plus, it has an estimated range of 373 miles, based on the WLTP range scale. However, even with the usual 10% to 15% discount from WLTP to EPA, the range estimate seems optimistic to us.
The i4 is expected to have a usable battery capacity of 80 kWh, slightly bigger than that of a long-range Tesla Model 3. Therefore, if the slightly larger and heavier i4 can even match the Model 3's EPA range rating of 322 miles per charge we'd consider that an incredible accomplishment. Still, the i4 will certainly have more than 200 miles of range, making it the longest range all-electric car that BMW has to offer.
In the video above Carwow compares the upcoming electric coupe to the benchmark of electric vehicles, the Tesla Model 3. It's not a perfect comparison because the i4 will fit in between the Model 3 and Model S, size-wise. We don't have pricing yet, but we're certain the i4's price will be much closer to that of the Model S (~£80,000) than it is to the price of a Model 3 (~£40,000).
Nonetheless, Carwow does a nice job of detailing what's known of the i4 and comparing those features to the Model 3. Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments below.