The BMW i4, a 100% electric sedan, launches an assault on the Tesla Model 3. What are its assets to turn away loyal American customers?
New BMW i4 2021 – A year after its revelation in the form of a concept car, the first 100% electric sedan of the Blue Helix goes into series production. The BMW i4 is the first German of its kind to oppose the Tesla Model 3 head-on.
Everything had started well for BMW, in 2012, when the German manufacturer took a big step ahead of the competition by developing its i3 city car, on a platform dedicated exclusively to electricity. And then nothing during the eight years that followed, before the launch of the the brand’s first electric SUV, named iX3. A model launched at the end of 2020 which, unfortunately, was content to adapt an electric drive train to the thermal base of the BMW X3. In 2021, rebel with the arrival of the i4, which is none other thana 3/4 Series converted to electricity. To witness the birth of a model exclusively designed as an electric car, it will be necessary to wait for the launch of the grand SUV iX, in the coming months.
Making progress on the electrification of its range, for the sake of economy, BMW unveils an i4 with less polished architecture than a pure electric one. The figures speak for themselves on reading the technical sheet: whilea Tesla Model 3 takes care of its habitability thanks to a generous wheelbase measurement (2.87 m), despite a total length contained (4.69 m), the new BMW i4 inherits the chassis initially accommodating bulky petrol and diesel units which limit its rating.wheelbase below 2.86 m as she reveals herself 9 cm longer (4.78 m) than the Californian. The results are the same when comparing their boot volumes: despite its compactness, the Tesla Model 3 cube 505 l, including the space under its floor, when its German rival is satisfied with 470 l of transport.
A make-up Series 4
In terms of design, customers who make it a point of honor to distinguish themselves from the flow of vehicles running on fossil fuels will not find their account. With the exception of small details, this BMW i4 resumes almost the entire look of the 4 Series Coupé, while waiting for its alter ego called Gran Coupé, scheduled for the next few months. However, with the exception of the hood, front and rear optics and the trunk, all bodywork elements are specific to it. Even the doors, which swap their classic handles for flush appendages, for the benefit of aerodynamics. In the same concern, the grille is full and sports a bluish border that is found in the optics, on the door sills, as well as at the level of the diffuser, while the rims turn into flanges. All of these changes lower his coefficient of penetration in air at only 0.24.
Double screen on board
For its part, the passenger compartment takes the 4 Series dashboard, with the exception of the cap which benefits froma large rectangular digital panel, in the purest Mercedes spirit. However, having the advantage of curved profile, it groups together two screens which respectively extend over 12.3 ”and 14.9” diagonal, and embeds a new generation of infotainment system BMW iDrive with voice recognition, and 5G compatible. We also notice new central air vents without physical buttons. These functions are fully delegated to the touch module.
Two motors, one battery
This BMW range is available in two variants. The first, called i4 eDrive40, take advantage of an electric motor 250 kW (340 ch) and 430 Nm of torque delivered to the rear wheels. It is associated with a 83.9 kWh battery promising to rally over 590 km (WLTP). An entry level supported by a variant i4 M50, with a more fiery temperament, who sees his power soar to 400 kW (544 ch) and 795 Nm of torque thanks to thea second block housed on the front axle to provide it with all-wheel drive, and catapulting her from 0 to 100 km / h in 3.9 s. However, the capacity of its battery does not change one iota, lowering its autonomy to around 510 km (WLTP).
Far from equaling the 800 V technologies of the Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT or Hyundai Ioniq 5, the BMW i4 is satisfied with a voltage of 398.5 V. Therefore, to recover 80% of battery capacity, its owner will have to wait. 31 min on a supercharger delivering a maximum of 210 kW.
BMW i4 price
Marketed next november, the new BMW i4 already lifts the veil on its prices. The i4 eDrive40 claims 59 700€ against 71 650 € for the i4 M50. Unfortunately, prices are higher than the equivalent Tesla Model 3 (Large Autonomy at € 52,990 and Performance at € 59,990) for lower performance (acceleration, range).
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