Images of German carmaker BMW’s i4 electric car have been captured in Europe, showing it in full camouflage on the road being tested in the (recently and extraordinarily searing) summer heat.
Scheduled for production at BMW’s factory in Munich in 2021, the electric Gran Coupe-styled sedan (which like to say will be a competitor for the Tesla Model 3) was caught by a spy photographer doing the rounds in an undisclosed location.
Gone are the winter tyres we saw from previous shots when the vehicle was being tested at the carmaker’s cold weather facility in the Swedish locality of Arjeplog in official photos released by BMW in March.
Instead, summer tyres have been fitted to the i4, which resembles very closely the 4 series Gran Coupe apart from the need for an open grille.
With a long nose and sleek curved roofline, the prototype appears to have a number of stick on features designed to obscure the i4’s more distinctive features.
One is stick-on door handles – a concept image released by the German carmaker when announcing its plans to invest 200 million euros ($A320 million) in its Munich plant to make the i4 had door handles that were almost invisible to the eye from a distance.
We are #investing up to 200 Million euros to prepare our #Munich plant for the #production of the @BMW #i4#Investment #BMWi @bmwi #BMW #BMWGroup #Innovation #electrified #next100 #fullyelectric #emobility #ElectricVehicles pic.twitter.com/qDLowLOoek
— BMW Group (@BMWGroup) December 11, 2018
Another is the almost comical “fake grille” of the wrap that obviously hides the otherwise easily distinguishable closed grille.
While often concept features don’t always make it to production, it would give the i4 some cred as being BMW’s answer to the Model 3 – its one of those subtle features which makes a car special.
It is clear however in the photos that the prototype is also missing the little tabs between the front and rear doors and another curious observation is the fake exhaust pipes on the camouflage wrap!
Specifications for the production i4 are a little thin on the ground but it is expected that it will be produced from 2021 and will have acceleration from 0-100km/hr in around 4 seconds, a top speed of 200km/hr and a range of up to 600km based on the WLTP test cycle.
There is no word yet on availability in Australia but it would certainly make an nice option to BMW’s only other electric vehicle available here so far, the i3.
It might even sell better here, if BMW executive Klaus Frölich’s comments from July are anything to go by – according to the BMW board member Europeans (where many households have only one car and apparently often hedge their bets by choosing plug-in hybrids instead), people don’t want full electric vehicles.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.