BMW has revealed pricing and specifications for the upcoming all-electric i4 gran coupé, its latest addition to the EV market in Australia.
Due to arrive in the first quarter of 2022, the premium i4 four-door coupé will be offered in two variants: the eDrive40 which starts at $99,900 and the M50 which starts at $124,900, both before on-road costs.
The fully electric BMW i4 is clearly aimed at Tesla: With big promises of power and range, it is a step-change for BMW in the electric segment in Australia as well as overseas, having recently announced it is winding up production of its original i3 electric hatch.
Along with the iX3 electric SUV, the BMW i4 is already available to reserve locally and is the brand’s second new electric car to hit the Australian market.
It is equipped with fifth-generation BMW Drive tech that combines the motor, power electronics and transmission in a single housing.
The i4 eDrive 40 will offer an output of 250kW power and maximum 430Nm torque from its rear-wheel-drive motor, while the i4 M50 with an immense output of 400 kW/544 hp and all-wheel drive.
With acceleration from zero to 100 km/hr in just 3.9 seconds, the powerful M50 will smoke most combustion engine vehicles at the lights. And, if demanding of high power for more than 10 seconds, it will activate “sport boost” mode delivering a maximum torque of 795Nm.
Even the less powerful eDrive40 sprints to 100 km/hr in 5.7 seconds. Whether 190 or 225 km/hr top speed (for the M50) makes sense for an electric car, particularly in Australia where the speed limits are much lower, remains to be seen.
Performance like this deserves an acoustic experience to match, it would seem. The i4 comes with the brand’s IconicSounds Electric standard on both models, to complement the dynamic driving experience incorporating new drive sound options developed in partnership with famed film and music composer Hans Zimmer.
The i4 battery has a usable energy content of 80.7kWh (gross 83.9kWh), weighs 550 kilograms alone and offers a range of 590 kilometres (WLTP) for the eDrive40, which is more energy-efficient than its range-topping sibling using 16 to 20kWh per 100 kilometres. The M50 by comparison offer has a range of 510 kilometres (also WLTP) with energy consumption of 19 to 24 kWh.
The basis for the impressive range of action is an optimized energy density (20 per cent better than the i3) of the high-voltage battery with the latest cell technology.
Thanks to a maximum charging power of 200kW, it can be charged to around 80 per cent in a good half an hour DC ultra-rapid charging stations. This equates to around six minutes for 100 additional kilometres.
On an AC charger, a maximum charge rate of 11 kW enables the battery to be charged from 0-100% in 8.5 hours.
Sustainable production is also front of mind, says BMW: both its plant in Munich and the production of battery cells use 100 per cent using green electricity. BMW also attaches great importance to sustainability on the inside and uses recycled material for the seats, for example.
Additionally, BMW’s new electric motor has been developed in order to do away with the use of rare earths, while cobalt and lithium for the high-voltage battery are sustainably extracted according to BMW.
Inside, the i4 uses the new BMW Operating System 8, which focuses on touchscreen capabilities of a curved display and spoken communication via an enhanced BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.
Behind a glass surface tilted towards the driver, the BMW curved display fully digital screen grouping combines a 12.3-inch information display and a 14.9-inch control display. Occupant comfort is assured via “intelligently coordinated” airflow plus heated seats and steering wheel.
In the safety department, the i4 is designed to offer safe and enjoyable driving and parking, with 40 assistance features as standard or available as options including steering and lane control assist, active cruise control, and speed limit assist among the highlights.
Added to this as standard are front-collision warning, speed limit info, lane departure warning, park distance control, reversing and parking assist, as well as surround view and even remote 3D view.
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.