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New 2021 BMW i4: everything you need to know

Nick Francis

03 Jun 2021

In entry guise BMW’s new electric saloon will rival cars like the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2, but an M-badged version has also been confirmed which offers a sub-four seconds 0-62mph time.

> New electric saloon from BMW

> Range of up to 367-miles

> Two models at launch: eDrive40 and M50 xDrive

> Hot M version does 0-62mph in 3.9-seconds

> On sale November 

> Prices start at £51,905

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2021 BMW i4 design

It looks a little bit like a 3 Series, and that’s because in a way it is: it’s built on the same platform as BMW’s mega-selling saloon, only the oily bits have been replaced by batteries and motors. It’s even near-identical in size to the 3 Series at 4,785mm long and 1,448mm high. 

But where the 3 Series is strictly a saloon the i4 is more of a grand coupe in its design, which means it has a more gently sloping rear roofline that extends all the way to the end of the car where there’s a small spoiler on the boot lip.

The 4 Series-like oversize kidney grille on the front is blanked out because there’s no engine to cool, and the frameless windows help things look fuss-free and classy. 

The entry eDrive40 model rides on 18-inch wheels as standard but opting for the M50 brings bespoke 19-inch alloys.

2021 BMW i4 interior and infotainment 

Where the i4 really distinguishes itself from its petrol-powered cousins is the infotainment system, using the same 14.3-inch touchscreen paired with a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display as the new iX3 electric SUV. The touchscreen is made from curved glass to focus on the driver and appears to perch on top of the air vents in a freestanding design.

Personalisation and customisation are the key principles of the system, with drivers able to store their preferences and access them with a PIN code when they turn the car on. The i4 also supports over-the-air software updates, which could be used in future to increase battery range and performance. 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard. 

Elsewhere the i4 comes with a sports steering wheel and sports seats as standard, while the cabin features a clean design with an emphasis on ‘earthy’ materials, such as the wood-effect trim on the dashboard. After all, electric cars are all about saving the planet, right?

A smattering of physical buttons on the driver console will control things like drive modes, and the rotary dial can be used to navigate the infotainment system, but the climate controls live within the infotainment system itself, which will annoy some people.

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2021 BMW i4 practicality and boot space

While BMW hasn’t revealed any details on interior dimensions yet we know it’s a similar size to a BMW 3 Series, and thanks to the fact the battery is housed in the belly of the car it should be quite spacious inside for a small saloon. 

Three people should be able to fit in the back comfortably enough, but rear legroom is likely to be a little better than in the 3 Series as there is no need for a bulky transmission tunnel.

The i4’s boot can hold 470-litres with the rear seats upright, which is significantly more than the Polestar 2’s 405-litres and beats the Tesla Model 3’s 425-litres. 

2021 BMW i4 battery, motors and charging times

At launch there are two versions available, including the rear-wheel drive entry level eDrive40 model and all-wheel drive M50 version. Both versions use an 80.7kWh battery which in the eDrive40 means a range of up to 367-miles can be achieved - more than the Tesla Model 3 Long Range - while the M50 is capable of up to 316-miles on a full charge, according to WLTP figures.

Both versions support 200kW charging, allowing the eDrive40 to gain up to 102-miles of range in just ten minutes. In the M50 a ten minute charge can replenish up to 87-miles, but a full top up on a home charger will take around 8.5-hours.

While it’s the entry to the range the eDrive40 still produces 335bhp and covers off the 0-62mph sprint in 5.7-seconds, and being rear-wheel drive it sounds like it will be a lot of fun on the road. But if it’s out-and-out power you want the M50 version hits 62mph from a standstill in just 3.9-seconds thanks to its dual motors which produce a total of 536bhp. 

The AWD system in the M50 biases power to the rear axle to conserve battery range but spreads torque across the front and back wheels when extra grip is needed.  

2021 BMW i4 prices and on-sale date

The eDrive40 version can be optioned in either standard Sport trim or optional M Sport trim. Prices for the Sport start at £51,905 and rise to £53,405 for the M Sport, which adds bespoke alloys, a leather steering wheel, some sportier styling and BMW’s Driving Assistant pack. 

Prices for the M50, which comes with wireless phone charging and a head-up display as standard, start at £63,905.

The BMW i4 goes on sale in November. 

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Nick Francis

03 Jun 2021