Electric Cars
BMW

BMW goes after Tesla with new i4 electric sedan

Following the controversial iX SUV, the new i4 is ready to go after the EV mainstream

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BMW has revealed the production version of its latest electric car, called the i4.

A battery-powered sedan roughly the size of a Tesla Model 3, albeit slightly longer, the BMW i4 is priced from $55,400 and has a range of up to 300 miles. Although a smaller vehicle, the i4 is built on the same scalable platform as the iX and the iX3.

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BMW was one of the first legacy manufacturers to take on Tesla, with the i3 electric city car, but in the near-decade since that car arrived it has done little else since. The i3 is soon to disappear without an immediate successor, the i8 hybrid sports car has met the same fate, and the iX3 isn't coming to the US at all.

A lot is therefore riding on the shoulders of the i4, but when it arrives in the US in the first quarter of 2022 we have a feeling it will deliver. This, we suspect, will be the sensible electric sedan most drivers will want.

There will be two version of i4 at launch, called the eDrive40 and the i4 M50 – the latter being the first time BMW's hallowed M badge appears on an electric car, albeit not in full motorsport form just yet. The two models are priced from $55,400 and $65,900 respectively, with BMW also still eligible for the $7,500 federal tax cut.

BMW i4 The i4 will arrive in the US in the first quarter of 2022BMW

The similarly-sized Tesla Model 3 starts at $38,490 and the quicker Performance variant is priced from $55,490. The larger Model S recently had a price rise and now starts at $78,490.

The entry-level i4 eDrive40 is a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive car with 335 horsepower, a 0-60mph time of 5.7 seconds and a claimed EPA range of up to 300 miles. The more potent i4 M50 has two motors for all-wheel-drive, 536 horsepower and a 0-60mph time of 3.9 seconds when sport mode is selected and a system called Sport Boost is deployed. This version has an estimated range of up to 240 miles.

Interestingly, the i4 sedan has a larger battery back than the iX, which is a full-size SUV. The sedan has an 83.9kWh (gross) battery pack with 81.5kWh of usable capacity. The iX has a 74kWh battery.

BMW i4 interior The interior features a pair of curved displaysBMW

As for charging, BMW is using a 400-volt architecture and says the i4 can replenish its battery with up to 102 miles of range in 10 minutes, or from 10 to 80 percent in 31 minutes. Peak charge capacity is 200kW when using a high-speed DC charger.

Inside, the interior isn't as eye-catching as that of the iX, but given the i4's mass-market appeal we think it is all the better for it. Much of the dashboard and center console will be recognizable for most current BMW drivers, while the dashboard now features a large display module that stretches across the center and driver's side of the dashboard. This single, curved unit houses a 12.3-inch touchscreen display for infotainment and a 14.9-inch driver display. BMW's iDrive system which has been with us now for 20 years, runs the show as far as infotainment is concerned.

The BMW i4's dimensions are closely matched to the Tesla Model 3. The former is 4,785mm long, 1,852mm wide and 1,448mm tall, compared to the Tesla Model 3 at 4,694 x 1,849 x 1,443mm. The Tesla Model S is considerably larger, at 4,870 x 1,964 x 1,445mm.

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