Here's your first look at the production BMW i4

By topgear, 18 March 2021

Here’s another inflection point for electric cars. The BMW i4. Full electric drive has now reached “the heart of BMW”, says the company’s boss Oliver Zipse.

It’s not a city car. Not a crossover. Not a startup – hello Tesla 3 and Polestar 2. It’s a proper sports saloon from the premium aristocracy.

The choice of versions will top out at an M Performance version, with rear-drive, 530bhp and a 0-100kph time, says BMW, of about four seconds. Range will go up to about 580km WLTP.

Most of the i4’s styling is shared with the coming 4 Series Gran Coupe. Except of course it gets efficiency-stretching aero tweaks.

Inside, though, things are very different. It gets the new iDrive version 8, as just revealed for the iX crossover.

Well now. Given the car’s layout, and the team who developed and is making it, we might reasonably assume this will be the best-driving electric car this side of a Porsche Taycan.

It’s a busy year for electric BMWs, as they’re also launching the iX crossover. They’re confident that buyers are hungry. Zipse says it was “an easy decision” to bring out the i4 three months ahead of schedule. It goes on sale in Germany this autumn.

Given how much it shares with the 4 Series, it’s also built on the same production line at the company’s historic Munich factory. That plant has particular significance as it’s right at the foot of the company’s headquarters tower. The heart of BMW, then.