BMW's past electric models wearing the 'I' moniker include the futuristic-looking, but niche, i3 hatchback and the i8 sports car. Even though both are plug-in hybrids, over the years, the company has been refining its EV technology underpinning those models to power its first fully electric midsize sedan: The BMW i4.
Set to arrive in late 2021, winter testing shots of the i4 prototype were shared by BMW along with other key specs. These include a 390kW motor capable of producing 523 hp and an 80kWh battery pack that'll take it up to 373 miles (600 km) on a single charge, according to the more optimistic WLTP cycle.
BMW's fifth-generation eDrive technology features a new electric motor, power electronics, charging unit and a more compact high-voltage battery pack than previous generations, thanks to a flat cell design.
The modular platform will also be used for BMW's future hybrid models and will debut first on the iX3 next year, followed by the iNext SUV and the i4. "By 2023, the BMW Group will have 25 models with electrified drive in its program." the company said in a press release.
In terms of final design, the i4 is said to be based on BMW's I Vision Dynamics concept (2017) and the Concept 4 Series Coupé (2019). The latter also ruffled some feathers with its odd grille design when it previewed earlier this year at the Frankfurt motor show.
Although the camouflaged prototype doesn't reveal much (duh), the car still appears less extreme than these concepts, as is usually the case, and more in-line with the company's current sedan offerings.
"This heralds a new era of driving pleasure," said BMW, referring to the firm's first purely electric model for the premium mid-range segment that will combine "driving dynamics, sporty and elegant design, premium quality and the spacious comfort and functionality of a four-door Gran Coupé with locally emissions-free mobility."