BMW has confirmed some of the key specifications and priorities of its upcoming i4 electric sports-sedan as it undergoes the final stages of its development, including its peak power output of 390kW.
Despite not being a designated performance model adorned with M badges, the sleek new four-door EV actually develops more power than the imminently arriving M3 and M4 Competition twins however a final torque figure has not been revealed yet.
According to engineers, the i4 will go from standstill to 100km/h in four seconds flat and while the top speed is yet to be revealed, the brand is claiming an effective range of up to 600km on the WLPT cycle.
“For the first time, we’ve developed a BMW with sporty DNA for purely electric driving entirely from scratch,” i4 project manager David Alfredo Ferrufino Camacho said.
“The BMW i4 offers everything BMW stands for – and it’s fully electric, too.”
More than just about raw speed, Mr Camacho added that plenty of work was going into the i4’s dynamics resulting in a “mature premium character”.
Given its inevitable weight penalty over the next-gen BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe with which it will share a platform, the i4 will boast model-specific components and damper technology, unique camber values and component tunes as well as a lower centre of gravity than its eventual internal-combustion counterpart.
“The BMW i4 conveys the feeling of being light and agile yet also solid and authoritative,” Mr Camacho said.
“With its superior directional reliability and high level of cornering stability, it seems to literally attach itself to the road.
“All electric vehicles are capable of fast straight-line acceleration. But that’s not enough for us at BMW.”
Despite the obvious rhetoric about the i4’s performance credentials, the electric Gran Coupe is first and foremost aimed at long-distance comfort and day-to-day use however those BMW fans hoping for an all-out performance EV have had their wishes granted with the i4 set to be used as the basis for the first ever electrified M car.
As reported by GoAuto in September last year, the Performance version of the i4 will not be a fully-fledged M car like the M3 or M5 but rather an M Performance vehicle in the ilk of the semi-skim M340i and M550i – performance vs high-performance.
Given the i4 will be a similar size to the established 3 and 4 Series Gran Coupe, BMW M CEO Markus Flasch was quick to point out at the time that the M Performance i4 would not be a rival or electric alternative for the new M3 and M4, citing the high-performance EV technology being explored was still at least several years away.
“Weight will play a significant role in that and then of course driving dynamically; chassis controlling, powertrain controlling; there are opportunities within electrified powertrains, very much in the control systems and this is something that needs further development,” he said.
While not a dedicated high-performance M, the i4-based car will plug the gap in BMW’s M Performance Gran Coupe range, slotting neatly between the M235i and M850i.
With maximum power likely to surpass the 400kW mark, the M-spec i4 will provide BMW with a genuine competitor for the looming Audi RS E-Tron GT given both have four-door coupe body styles, both have an emphasis on grand touring (all-day comfort) and both will offer a sporty bent within their abilities.
For now though all eyes are on the regular i4 which is due to be officially debuted in the coming months before the M Performance emerges most likely in the second half of the year.