The Bavarians’ upcoming all-electric superstar

Back in 2014, BMW took a very confident step into the world of the EV, officially launching its “Project i” sub-brand with the i3. Following hot on its heels was the remarkable i8 hybrid coupe, which garnered the German brand oodles of green cred for its futuristic aesthetic and advanced powertrain. These days, BMW says it has big plans for its electrified lineup, with a total of 12 battery-electrics planned by 2025, plus 13 hybrids as well. One of the most exciting prospects is dubbed to i4, which promises four-door practicality, high-end luxury, extraterrestrial styling, and next-generation technology.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 BMW i4.

2020 BMW i4 Exterior

  • Takes cues from the i Vision Dynamics concept
  • Geometric and futuristic
  • LED lighting
  • Keeps the kidney grille in front
  • Coupe-like roofline
  • Short overhangs
  • Similar exterior dimensions as the 3 Series
  • “Intelligent Surface” exterior
2020 BMW i4 Exclusive Renderings Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 776434
The i4 will lead the way when it comes to BMW’s design language, at least when it comes to EVs.

Back in 2017 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW dropped the sheets on something called the i Vision Dynamics concept, and word has it the Bavarians are gearing up to put it into production. It’s also reported that the production version will be nearly identical to the concept in terms of aesthetic and styling.

And that’s pretty awesome, considering just how crazy and out there the i Vision Dynamics concept really looks.

What’s more, the i4 will undoubtedly lead the way when it comes to BMW’s aesthetics and design language, at least when it comes to each of its electrified offerings that is. And again - we think that a very good thing indeed.

Futuristic lines and loads of geometric shapes pervade throughout, while we’re also seeing a bit of BMW’s four-door Gran Coupe in there as well.

The goal looks to be four-door practicality matched with the spacey loveliness of the i8, which makes sense considering the i8 was widely hailed as a huge styling success.

“ But what about the i3?” some of you might ask. “Doesn’t that fit the formula?” Well, we think the i3 doesn’t really achieve the combo we just mentioned. Sure, the hatch is techo-tastic and forward-thinking, but it doesn’t have the same aggressive demeanor as the i8, mostly due to its bubbly proportions. It’s more transportation cube than it is low-slung sports machine.

BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 748136
Weighs just 3,381 pounds
The goal looks to be four-door practicality matched with the spacey loveliness of the i8.

Either way, the i4 should be quite the head-turner. Up front, the four-door will get thing, sharp headlight housings with a dual set of daytime running lights per side. LED lighting is expected front to back. The lower chin element is offset in black, giving the nose a top/bottom aesthetic that works particularly well on the i8. Extra sinew lines plump up the hood and help lead the eye rearwards, while also enhancing the snout up front.

Really, the only thing we dislike about this look has to be that front kidney grille. We know it’s pretty much a must-have for any BMW model, what with the heritage and all that, but does it have to be so garish? The geometric style is fine, but the size of it makes it stand out way too much, and it could probably use a downsize. We think a horizontal design would work better, as opposed to the vertical look. What’s more, the grille is completely unnecessary (this is an all-electric, remember?), but that’s a different topic entirely.

Things improve as we move into the flanks, though. The hard angles are much more effective here, with extended side wills that give the car a slimmer profile. The sharp edges seen at the B-pillars also look quite good, enhancing the skid skirts and falling back into the trunk.

In the rear, we’d expect the same kind of squared-off, squat tail seen on the BMW i8, with complimentary style lines enhancing the car’s natural visual width.

Indeed, the i4 looks as though it’s got the same proportions as its sportier i8 sibling, with an extended wheelbase, short overhangs, and a low roof giving it that coupe-from-the-future attitude.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Exterior High Resolution
- image 727994
If the i4 is set to compete against the Tesla Model 3, it’ll likely slot around the compact to mid-size segments.

Indeed, if this production vehicle is set to compete against heavy-hitters like the Tesla Model 3, it’ll likely slot around the compact to mid-size segments, rocking exterior dimensions roughly equivalent to those of the current 3 Series sedan. For reference, we’ve provided a table of exterior dimensions for both the Tesla and the 3 Series below.

Finally, expect the i4 to place several sensors throughout the body and fascia, enabling several of those high-tech features (more on those in the next section). BMW calls it “intelligence surface,” and you can bet this too will see use elsewhere in the BMW lineup.

Exterior Dimensions BMW 3 Series Tesla Model 3
Length 179 - 190 inches 185 inches
Width 71 - 72 inches 73 inches
Height 56 - 59 inches 57 inches

2020 BMW i4 Interior

  • Could pull from i Vision Dynamics inside as well
  • Geometric shapes and hard lines
  • Soft-touch materials and high-end trim bits
  • Optional eco interior spec
  • All the usual infotainment and smartphone features
  • Might include advanced stuff like augmented reality
  • Advanced autonomous driving tech a certainty
  • More space inside than the 3 Series
2017 BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept
- image 778719

Note: BMW i Vision Dynamics concept pictured here.

In terms of layout, looks for tons of geometric shapes, hard angles, and layered features.

As far as the interior is concerned, we can once again look to the BMW i Vision Dynamics for inspiration. Granted, this is definitely pure concept stuff, but considering just how crazy the i8’s interior is, the final production i4 might not be that far off the mark.

In terms of layout, looks for tons of geometric shapes, hard angles, and layered features. The dash will be broad and come covered in soft-touch materials, while the center console will get a mix of brushed aluminum trim and piano black lacquer surrounds. We’d also expect BMW to offer the i4 with a more eco-conscious package incorporating recycled materials and sustainable build practices. After all, this is an all-electric vehicle we’re talking about.

While eye-catching in terms of look and feel, the cabin should also pique buyers’ interests through the use of cutting-edge technology, much of which will trickle down throughout the Bimmer lineup. Stuff like digital gauges, a heads-up display, advanced navigation, smartphone support, wireless charging, and the like is all expected here, as is gesture control. We might even see BMW delve into augmented reality with the i4.

The really big game changer will be in the realm of advanced autonomous technology.

However, the really big game changer will be in the realm of advanced autonomous technology, as the i4 should also offer a plethora of different autopilot functions to compete with the likes of Tesla. For now, BMW offers features customers stuff like self parking, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and the like, but the i4 could bring much, much more by the time it’s released. Think nearly fully autonomous driving.

Finally, although it’s about as big as the 3 Series, the i4 is expected to get a significantly larger cabin space, given the more compact packaging of the all-electric drivetrain. With BMW mounting the pack underneath the floor and putting electric motors at the corners, passenger space will be plentiful, while both front and rear will be extra storage space for long trips.

2020 BMW i4 Drivetrain

  • Latest eDrive powertrain stuff
  • AWD grip with four electric motors
  • At least 200 miles of range
  • Upwards of 435 in the top trim
  • 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds
  • Top speed of 124 mph
  • Tech will trickle down to the rest of the Bimmer line
  • Debuts new EV architecture
2015 BMW i8 Drivetrain
- image 518243

Note: BMW i3 powertrain pictured here.

Higher in the range, the Bimmer will offer a peak range of 435 miles.

Making the go in the i4 will be something BMW dubs its eDrive powertrain. It’s expected the i4 will debut the fifth generation of the tech, with a pair of electric motors mounted in front and in the rear, blessing the machine with natural AWD grip and advanced torque vectoring handling characteristics. It’ll also employ fifth-generation battery cells, which are rumored to be sourced directly from Samsung.

We’d like to see something more advanced than the traditional lithium-ion units, but it’s unlikely BMW will stray far given the brand is looking to secure a 10-year supply of the element to power its EV lineup far into the future.

Regardless, the i4 will have it where it counts, sporting at least 200 miles of range. Higher in the range, the Bimmer will offer a peak range of 435 miles, that is if recent rumors are to be believed.

Well, actually, it’s more than just a rumor, as Auto Express recently spoke with BMW’s CEO, Harald Kruger, who personally confirmed that the i4’s powertrain will go up to 700 km per charge.

And that ain’t bad at all, especially when you consider the original concept was said to offer as much as 370 miles per charge. Sounds like Bimmer’s engineers found a few extra electrons.

2020 BMW i4
- image 778722
The i4 will be no slouch when it comes to performance, hitting 60 mph in less than 4 seconds.

Speaking of extra electrons, the i4 will be no slouch when it comes to performance. Acceleration will be mighty quick indeed, with the sprint from 0 to 60 mph completed in less than 4 seconds. Sheer outright velocity will be a bit less impressive though, with top speed expected to max out at 124 mph.

Even before its release, the i4 is expected to share some of its powertrain technology with other Bimmer products, such as the Mini Cooper EV and iX3 EV crossover. The i3 will also benefit from the powertrain developments, with range increased up to 150 miles from its current 97 miles.

Finally, the i4 will be built on a new common architecture, something that will also be used for Bimmer’s various other plug-in hybrids and all-electric models.

2020 BMW i4 Prices

2020 BMW i4
- image 778720
A price tag of around $45,000 to $50,000, give or take, would feel just right for the i4.

The BMW i4 is definitely still several years away, but when it debuts, it will lead the charge as part of the “i” sub-brand’s refreshed and all-new offerings. It’s rumored the four-door EV will hit the production line by around 2025.

In terms of pricing, the i4 will be more expensive than its smaller hatchback cousin, otherwise known as the i3. For now, the i3 starts at $44,450.

“But wait,” you might say, “isn’t the i4 supposed to be a Tesla Model 3 competitor?” Indeed it is, and at $35,000, the Model 3 would undercut the i4 massively, right?

Maybe not. We’re gonna guess that the i3 will get a pretty sizable price cut in the next 5 years, possibly to somewhere around the high-$30K range. If we were to guess, a figure around $38,000 feels right. The drastic price reduction will be helped in part by the expanded EV technology that the i4 is bringing with it, as well as a projected increase in demand within the EV segment.

With that in mind, a price tag of around $45,000 to $50,000, give or take, would feel just right for the i4. Numbers like that would make it like a very well-equipped Tesla Model 3, which, considering the range per charge and equipment on board, is about right for the Bimmer.

The i4 will be sold in markets around the world alongside BMW’s other electrified models, which will once again include the sporty i8 plug-in hybrid coupe and the small city runabout i3, as well as several other battery-powered offerings currently heading down the line.

2020 BMW i4 Competition

Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3 Exterior High Resolution
- image 725180

As we mentioned several times in this piece, this is the i4’s biggest competition. The Model 3 created some serious waves when it made its big debut in 2016, and while the California EV producer is struggling to get production running up to spec, consumers are still clamoring to get their hands on one. Outside, the 3 looks great, like a smaller, slightly more bubbly Model S, while the interior is simplistic and high-tech, dominated by a large touchscreen on the center console that acts as the primary infotainment control point. Of course, the most important stuff here is in the powertrain department, which offers 220 miles and a run to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds on the base model. Extra miles can be had with the Long Range model, which ups it to 310 miles between plug-ins while reducing the 60-mph sprint to 5.1 seconds. Pricing starts at $35,000 for the standard model and $44,000 for the Long Range model.

Read our full review of the 2018 Tesla Model 3.

Conclusion

2020 BMW i4 Exclusive Renderings Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 776434
The big question mark has to be the timeline. The i4 is still years away from a debut, and the competition isn’t slowing down.

For now, thinks are looking great for the i4. The brand already proved it could do the high-performance thing with the i8, while also proving it could do the practical thing with the i3. The i4 will mate these two mindsets in a single, broad-ranging platform, and properly priced, buyers will surely jump on the chance to get one.

Speed lovers are sure to take note as well. After all, Bimmer currently enjoys its ties with the Formula E series, using it as an opportunity to develop its all-electric technology. That means we could very well see the Ultimate Driving Machine make its presence known in the EV segment in a major way.

However, the big question mark has to be the timeline. The i4 is still years away from a debut, and the competition isn’t slowing down. Which leaves us asking this - where will Tesla be when this thing is finally revealed in its final production form?

All told, things are heating up in the EV segment, and it’s only gonna get hotter.

  • Leave it
    • * Won’t see production for many, many years
    • * Competition ramping up in a big way
    • * Can we fix that kidney grille please?

References

BMW i Vision Dynamics Previews Tesla Model S Fighter High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 730734

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept.

BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 748136
Weighs just 3,381 pounds

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe.

2019 BMW i8 Roadster Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 748122

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster.

BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s High Resolution Exterior
- image 728622

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i3.

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