BMW Concept i4, the first electric Grand Coupe from the German company, unveiled6 min read . Updated: 03 Mar 2020, 03:31 PM IST
- BMW claims the Concept i4 has a 390 kW electric motor with 600 km range. It can hit zero to 100 kmph in just 4 seconds.
The BMW Group opened a new chapter in its history with the unveiling of a pure-electric Gran Coupe - the Concept i4. The BMW Concept i4 represents a look ahead to the BMW i4, slated to enter production in 2021.
“The BMW Concept i4 brings electrification to the core of the BMW brand," says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The design is dynamic, clean and elegant. In short: a perfect BMW that happens to be zero emission."
The drivetrain’s standout numbers include a range of up to 600 km (WLTP), output of up to 530 hp, 0 – 100 km/h (0 – 60 mph) acceleration of approximately 4.0 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 km/h (124 mph). However, the driving qualities of the BMW Concept i4 cannot be expressed in figures alone. The virtually silent delivery of power creates an entirely new sensation of dynamism.
“The design of the BMW Concept i4 shows fantastic proportions, a powerfully expressive character and, of course, a lot of attention to detail," adds Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design. “With the BMW Curved Display, we have redefined BMW’s signature driver focus in an extremely elegant way. At the same time, the BMW Concept i4 transports a feeling of sustainable driving pleasure."
On the outside the Gran Coupe proportions create a modern and confident appearance. The long wheelbase, fastback roofline and short overhangs form a basic profile brimming with elegance and dynamism. With its four doors, the BMW Concept i4 offers not only a high level of everyday usability and practicality, but also a much larger interior than the car’s modern and dynamic proportions would immediately suggest.
The modern exterior paint shade Frozen Light Copper reprises a colour nuance displayed by the BMW Vision iNEXT and showcases the interplay of surfaces to visually stunning effect. Blue elements in the front end, flanks and rear end point to the car’s BMW i origins.
The blanked off kidney grille and clear aero lips provide detail examples of sophisticated airflow engineering at work. Another distinctive area of the car are the wheel rims. These have been designed exclusively for the BMW Concept i4 and blend aerodynamic and lightweight design; smooth – and therefore aerodynamically optimised – surfaces contrast with ultra-low-weight, high-strength spokes. The rims extend the car’s palette of colours and materials, emphasising its luxurious overall character.
The front-end treatment of the BMW Concept i4 presents the familiar BMW icons in a new look, lending a visually powerful face to the electric age at BMW. The prominent, closed-off kidney grille provides a tangible connection between the past and future of BMW. The BMW icon also gains new functionality: With no combustion engine to require cooling, the grille now serves primarily as an “intelligence panel" housing various sensors. The headlights provide a bridge between the past and the future; the classical four-eyed front end is reprised here with a very modern and pared-back interpretation. Two intricate, freestanding LED elements on either side integrate all of the requisite light functions.
In the course of the BMW Concept i4 presentation BMW is unveiling the brand’s new look for the first time. The new logo for communications also provides the basis for the badge on the BMW Concept i4. Its two-dimensional and transparent design ensures seamless integration and brings the special exterior colour shade Frozen Light Copper to even greater prominence.
The rear of the BMW Concept i4 sits low over the road and cuts a broad, horizontally emphasised figure. The surfaces progress across the rear in a smooth and luxuriant movement, and give it a very modern and calm appearance. The long, slim L-shaped rear lights continue the theme. Below the rear lights, the inward-angled surfaces form aerodynamics-enhancing lips and incorporate vertical air outlets. Further down, the rear apron has a forceful presence and enhances aerodynamic efficiency. Where exhaust tailpipes would once have been found, diffuser elements in BMW i Blue indicate the presence of a pure-electric drive system and reference the design of the BMW i Vision Dynamics.
In the inside, every element in the front of the cabin is trained on the driver. The new BMW Curved Display teams up with the steering wheel to reveal a new take on driver orientation and offers a look ahead to the display in the production versions of the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4. The presentation surfaces of the information display and Control Display merge into a single unit inclined towards the driver. Advanced display tech with non-reflective glass also removes the need for a shroud to shade the displays and therefore contributes to an extremely uncluttered and airy cockpit.
Accent strips in warm Gold Bronze blending to chrome lend the interior a high-class touch. The central control panel replaces a traditional gear lever with a toggle-type shifter. Elements such as the iDrive Controller and seat memory buttons in the doors are finished in a classy crystal glass. The cloth/leather combination for the seats – composed of microfibre with line graphics and natural leather tanned using olive leaf – sets a high-quality and sustainable seal on the interior.
Rear-seat passengers are greeted by a generously-sized compartment offering levels of headroom and legroom that exceed expectations of a coupe. Integral head restraints for the front and rear seats add further to the sporting feel.
The rear seats extend the horizontal graphic emerging from the doors to create a lounge feel in the rear.
The Concept i4 comes with three different driving modes - Core, Sport and Efficient. Core mode introduces the driver’s area to an updated interpretation of the four widgets familiar from the display concept of existing models. Here, the graphics reprise the pattern above the air vents and the Gold Bronze accent colour, consciously referencing the car’s interior design. In the area where the central display used to be positioned, a map and widgets now line up alongside one another. The user can navigate around the diagonal widgets using a swipe movement and arrange them intuitively by drag-and-drop. This allows them to adapt the display to their personal preferences.
In Sport mode, the widgets come closer together and create a focussed view. Sideways movements behind the zones are used to show how tight the next corner is, facilitating anticipatory driving. This form of content presentation also allows effective peripheral viewing. The right-hand area of the display shows specific functions in a similar way to BMW M’s lap timer app.
Efficient mode debuts an Assisted Driving View, which shows the driver what the car’s sensors are detecting. This Experience Mode opens up deeper insights into the car’s technology, such as how it communicates with its surroundings. In the BMW Concept i4, the focus here is on anticipatory and efficient driving, and key information for efficient driving is incorporated. The right-hand area of the display shows additional vehicle information, such as the charge level and range.
POWERTRAIN AND PERFORMANCE
The electric motor developed for the BMW i4 generates maximum output of up to 390 kW/530 hp, which ranks it alongside a current BMW V8 combustion engine.
The fifth generation of BMW eDrive also brings a newly designed high-voltage battery with the very latest battery cell technology. The version of the battery developed for the BMW i4 weighs roughly 550 kilograms, has an energy content of around 80 kWh and achieves an operating range of up to 600 km in the WLTP cycle.
Series production of the new BMW i4 will begin in 2021 at the BMW Group’s main plant in Munich. The company is investing a total of around 200 million euros in Plant Munich to bring series production of the BMW i4 to fruition.