Can electric cars be exciting? Yes, if they come looking like the BMW Concept i4.
The Gran Coupe continues the Bavarian’s march towards pure electric vehicles, and as it is slated to enter production in 2021, what you’re looking at shouldn’t be too different from its production form.
Before we dive into the marque’s first ever all-electric model in this premium midsize class, here are some figures. The electric motor can make up to 530 hp so the century sprint is complete in just 4.0 seconds and it will go pass 200 km/h.
That means it’s as quick as the BMW M4 which makes 425 hp, with a 0 to 100 km/h time of 4.1 seconds.
The electric motor, electronics, charging unit and high-voltage batteries are all part of the fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology. This version of the battery weighs in at 500 kg, and is rated around 80 kWh, bringing the operating range up to 600 km on the WLTP cycle (world harmonised light-duty vehicles test procedure).
The ‘driving sounds’ of the car, interestingly, are developed by Hans Zimmer (yes, the renowned composer) together with BMW Sound Designer, Renzo Vitale, under a brand named BMW IconicSounds Electric.
Why does a car need ‘driving sounds’? It’s to mimic the aural experience of a normal combustion engine to make it more sound organic, supposedly.
Design wise, it is pretty divisive. We’re all for pushing boundaries, but it’s hard to digest a kidney grille of that size, for now at least.
As there is no combustion engine to cool down or draw air to, they’re closed for aerodynamic efficiency and now serves as a panel housing several sensors.
Aero efficiency plays a big role in the design of the Concept i4, as you can tell. No exhaust tips mean the diffuser and rear apron can be optimised even further, while the rims, which are unique to this car, are light and designed to improve air flow.
BMW has also used the launch of this concept to unveil a new look for its brand, and this translates to the new transparent badge sitting on top of the grilles. It’s unclear from the press release if it will feature on every car from here on out, but colour got us intrigued.
The modern and minimalistic theme continues inside the car. Seen first on BMW iNEXT, the Curved Display projects all the vital parameters and infotainment display into a single, huge display that is angled towards the driver.
This means that haptic buttons continue their inexorable march into obsolescence. Even the gear lever is replaced by a toggle shifter.
From the aforementioned curved display, drivers can choose three driving modes : Core, Sport, and Efficient which have an effect on the driving sounds of the car. Interior presentation like ambient lighting is adjusted, along with the appearance of the Curved Display.
200 million euros (approx. RM934 million) will be invested in BMW’s main plant in Munich to enable series production of the i4, as the structure of the i4 which needs to accommodate high-voltage batteries, differs from the architecture of the vehicles currently produced there.
Approximately 90% of the existing production equipment in the body shop can be incorporated into the process however the remaining 10% – especially the machinery involved in building the rear structure – will need to be newly built.