BMW has confirmed pricing of its all-new, all-electric i4. Available in two distinct specifications from launch, the four-door Gran Coupe will arrive in UK dealerships in November. With a maximum range of 367 miles, prices start at £51,905.
Sitting 4,785mm long, 1,852mm wide and 1,448mm tall, the i4 has similar dimensions to the 3 Series. No surprise then that the electric Beemer is set to take on some powerful opposition, including not only the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3. But the top-spec M50 — which delivers up to 536bhp — is gunning for the likes of the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-tron GT.
Initially buyers can choose from three models. The rear-wheel drive eDrive40 is available in Sport (£51,905) and M Sport (£53,405) spec, while the range-topper will be the 536bhp M50 xDrive. The latter will set you back £63,905.
The eDrive40 (pictured in white) delivers 335bhp and 317lb ft of torque, all delivered through the rear wheels. BMW quotes a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds, and the car has a limited top speed of 118mph. Range? The company claims up to 367 miles on the WLTP test. Available as either Sport or M Sport trim, the latter — not surprisingly — benefits from a more aggressive bodykit, plus 18-inch alloys, compared to the 17-inch wheels on the Sport.
The all-wheel-drive M50 variant (the blue car in the pictures) is certainly the more potent of the bunch, delivering 470bhp and 538lb ft as standard. However, this can be temporarily improved by pressing the on-demand 'Sport Boost' button. This increases the output to 537bhp and 586lb ft, and results in 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds and a limited top speed of 140mph. Range, though, drops to 316 miles.
The i4 stores its reserves in a floor-mounted 80.7kWh lithium ion battery pack, which BMW claims is 30 per cent more power-dense than that used by current i3 supermini.
According to BMW, the i4 can take up to 200kW of power from a rapid DC charger (if you can find one one). Do so, and in 10 minutes you’ll have enough power for another 102 miles in an eDrive40, and around 87 miles in an M50. Of course, as you would expect, the BMW Charging app also allows easy access to several charging networks.
Inside the cabin, BMW promises “a richly involving driving experience”. I know; there’s always somebody in the marketing department who has to add their tuppence worth. Anyway …
The cabin — which does look familiar to current 3 and 4 Series models — includes a free-standing 12.3-inch infotainment screen running BMW’s new eighth-generation iDrive system. There’s also an all-new curved screen layout.
And while the iDrive controller remains, it does now benefit from a more natural voice assistant, personalisation via your own BMW ID profile and a shed load of driver assistance tech.
Just for good measure, there’s also sports seats as standard, plus the now traditional blue accents throughout, which act as a nod to the car’s electric underpinnings.
There's also the in-car sound effects from Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer. Yes, really. According to BMW: “An unmistakable, model-specific acoustic experience can also be enjoyed in the interior of the BMW i4. Pressing the Start/Stop button sparks an inspiring acoustic accompaniment that builds anticipation for the all-electric driving experience to come.”
This sound production, apparently, was created as part of a collaboration between film music composer Zimmer, and creative director of sound at the BMW Group Renzo Vitale. So there you have it.
The even better news is, if you want to play your own streamed music, the BMW Live Cockpit Plus, which is fitted as standard in the BMW i4, includes an audio system with DAB+ tuner, six speakers and an output of 100 watts. There is of course the option of the Harman Kardon surround sound system, complete with 16 speakers and a digital seven-channel amplifier delivering 464 watts of audio power.
Quite how that will affect the driving range of the i4 is another question for another day.