The BMW Group has opened a new chapter in its history with the unveiling of a pure-electric Gran Coupe.
The BMW Concept i4 takes electric drive to the core of the BMW brand and heralds a new era in Sheer Driving Pleasure. The BMW Concept i4 represents a look ahead to the BMW i4, slated to enter production in 2021 as the BMW Group’s first all-electric model in the premium midsize class. It provides a whole new take on the dynamic excellence for which BMW is renowned and blends a modern, elegantly sporty design with the spaciousness and functionality of a four-door Gran Coupe – all while generating zero local emissions.
“The BMW Concept i4 brings electrification to the core of the BMW brand,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The design is dynamic, clean and elegant. In short: a perfect BMW that happens to be zero emission.” The drivetrain’s standout numbers include a range of 600 km (373 miles), output of up to 530 hp, 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration of approximately 4.0 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 km/h (124 mph). However, the driving qualities of the BMW Concept i4 cannot be expressed in figures alone. The virtually silent delivery of power creates an entirely new sensation of dynamism.
The modern, elegant exterior represents a deliberate counterpoint to the dynamic flair of the driving experience. The perfectly resolved Gran Coupe proportions create an authentic, modern and confident appearance. The long wheelbase, fastback roofline and short overhangs form a basic profile brimming with elegance and dynamism. With its four doors, the BMW Concept i4 offers not only a high level of everyday usability and practicality, but also a much larger interior than the car’s modern and dynamic proportions would immediately suggest.
Crisp, smooth lines and taut volumes merge into a rich, smoothly contoured sculpture and create a clear surfacing language. The modern exterior paint shade Frozen Light Copper reprises a colour nuance displayed by the BMW Vision iNEXT and showcases the interplay of surfaces to visually stunning effect. Blue elements in the front end, flanks and rear end point to the car’s BMW i origins. They shine a spotlight on the signature BMW i icons and bring the technology below the surface to the fore – for example, the kidneys in their role as an intelligence panel, the mouldings in the side skirts concealing the battery technology, and the diffuser elements in the rear end, which fill the design space vacated by exhaust tailpipes and enhance aerodynamic efficiency.
A host of other aerodynamic measures maximise the car’s electric range. The blanked off kidney grille and clear aero lips provide detail examples of sophisticated airflow engineering at work. Another distinctive area of the car are the wheel rims. These have been designed exclusively for the BMW Concept i4 and blend aerodynamic and lightweight design; smooth – and therefore aerodynamically optimised – surfaces contrast with ultra-low-weight, high-strength spokes. The rims extend the car’s palette of colours and materials, emphasising its luxurious overall character.
The front-end treatment of the BMW Concept i4 presents the familiar BMW icons in a new look, lending a visually powerful face to the electric age at BMW. The prominent, closed-off kidney grille provides a tangible connection between the past and future of BMW. The BMW icon also gains new functionality: With no combustion engine to require cooling, the grille now serves primarily as an “intelligence panel” housing various sensors. The grille teases the technology behind the scenes with a special design for this model. The headlights likewise provide a bridge between the past and the future; the classical four-eyed front end is reprised here with a very modern and pared-back interpretation. Two intricate, freestanding LED elements on either side integrate all of the requisite light functions. Clean surfaces and a small number of crisp lines around the grille create a contemporary front-end graphic with considerable visual impact. A BMW i-style blue accent in the grille surround sets the seal on the front-end styling.
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 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 towards the driver. This screen grouping optimises 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.