Rumor: New BMW i4 – Rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, 60 and 80 kWh battery packs

BMW i, Rumors | March 9th, 2019 by 41
BMW i Vision Dynamics 10 830x553

BMW’s next big electric offensive will come in the form of the BMW i4 and iNEXT. Both electric cars are slated for a 2021 launch – remains to be seen which comes out first. Compared to other models, BMW has been extremely generous lately with details on the two cars. The iNEXT topic has been debated at large by BMW executives, while the i4’s name and details were first released by BMW CEO Harald Krueger.

Of course, some details were held back, but as we get closer to the launch date – and potential pre-drives and teasers of the two cars – some tech specs are starting to come out. Back in October 2018, we were the first to talk about some of the details of the i4, a car based on the upcoming 4 Series Gran Coupe, which in turn is built upon the G20 3 Series platform.

BMW i Vision Dynamics 15 830x553

Initially we talked about the i4 80 – which is one of the names given to the new EV indicating the battery capacity found in the car. But along with the 80 kWh battery pack, BMW is also rumored to offer a cheaper version with lower EV range to be sold under the i4 60 badge.

Currently BMW offers one electric car – the i3 and its “s” sportier version – which has received several battery upgrades since its introduction 7 years ago. The latest one – BMW i3 120Ah – has a gross energy storage of 42.2kWh (kiloWatt hours) giving the car a range of 152 miles (246 km) according to EPA.

BMW CEO Harald Krueger said last year that the i4 will be coming with the company’s fifth generation of eDrive technology which means it will be delivering the performance we’re all waiting for:

“With the fifth generation of eDrive, our vehicles will be able to drive 550 to 700 kilometers on electric power, depending on the model. We will achieve this in the BMW i4 and the iNEXT.”

So while the i4 60 might not be able to get to that target, the i4 80 is the one that will cater to those with driving range anxiety.

BMW i Vision Dynamics 14 830x553

What’s even more interesting than the battery packs and electric miles is the option between a rear-wheel drive i4 or one equipped with the xDrive system. Now all customer around the world will have the luxury to choose the drivetrain based on their driving preference or climate conditions, a departure from the rear-wheel drive i3 which almost always requires winter tires in the cold and snowy areas of the world.

While some customers are complaining about the lack of a proper Tesla-fighter today, BMW executives have assured us – in previous talks – that the wait will be well worth it, considering BMW’s approach to launch fully-tested and well-refined automobiles.

With most global automakers focusing on electro-mobility, one thing is certain – the EV market will look significantly different past 2020 than it looks today and it will be just as competitive as the one for combustion engines.

41 responses to “Rumor: New BMW i4 – Rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, 60 and 80 kWh battery packs”

  1. Eddie says:

    BMW will make sure the are perfect driving machines. Anxiously awaiting

    • Lot would depend on how serious BMW is about doing EVs right.
      Let’s hope the shellacking it has got from Tesla Model3 which was squarely targeted at BMW 3&5 series has made writing on the wall clear.
      I like the design of i4 and the battery size also seems right.
      Now the issue is whether BMW can execute it in terms of performance and efficiency where Tesla is the one to beat.
      Even when that happens, can BMW make a business out of it by selling it at a price that is competitive with a Tesla and make a profit. Imagining it can command a premium and also the market would be delusional.
      And finally, the appeal of a Tesla goes beyond being an EV. It’s the idea of a software defined connected smart car that can continue to remain current through OTA updates.
      And what BMW and other OEMs are going to do about this that’s going to determine their future. Seeing it as an EV race is missing the woods for the trees.

      • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

        Shellacking?! Most drivers don’t compare ICE & BEV, one reason BEV are a fraction of the global market. Tesla still pretty much have a monopoly market, what are their competition?

  2. Sluggo says:

    WOW. Crisp. and sharp

  3. expat says:

    Get electrocuted………

  4. Gery Katona says:

    The i4 is not using an EV-specific platform, thus it will be compromised. No way it can compete with a Model 3 or any other EV that uses a no-compromise platform. If you look at the test i4’s now running around, you will see an overly long hood and small cabin, thus the packaging is not what it could have been.

    • Horatiu B. says:

      What do you think it will be missing by using that platform? Just curious.

      • Gery Katona says:

        At the minimum, interior space will be reduced due to too much space allocated for a straight six under the hood. And the driveshaft/transmission tunnel will further erode the space inside. The VW ID platform for example has the same interior space as the next size up for a given model. In BMW terms, a 3 series would have 5 series interior space if they were going to a platform optimized for an EV driveline. It is a cost issue and BMW must not think the market is big enough yet to justify the expense. Look at the hood length on a Tesla or one of the new models coming off the VW ID platform and you will see what I mean. The front end is much shorter with the saved space going to the cabin. BMW is using a one-size-fits-all platform to accommodate both ICE and EV drivelines, which saves money, but will be compromised.

        • Horatiu B. says:

          All valid points, agree with them. But I still think that range and cool design will make those EV models. Interior space is, of course, important, but I don’t think that much will be sacrificed to make people move away from the i4.

          • Gery Katona says:

            I hope you are right because I want an i4.

          • Rational says:

            I’ve been dubious for a while of the potential for a dedicated ICE car company to deliver a true category-best EV in time to compete adequately with the likes of Tesla. The split between ICE and EV design paradigms is often about company culture as much as economics. Every Tesla engineer is focused 100% of the time only on making the best EVs they can. In contrast, attention is likely to remain divided at BMW (and most other ICE-first car companies) which is also likely to result in serious changes only in response to what others do better first. Historically, that’s a recipe for ending up with a smaller share of the future (unless you believe EVs are not the future). All your points about the i4 design support this thesis.

            Personally, I do think the pictured i4 looks quite nice. However, I also think it looks more like a concept car (which makes me wonder what the actual car will be like and whether it will be delivered on schedule). All that really matters will be the reality of the i4 when it is actually delivered. As predecessors, the i3 and i8 do not give me much hope (concerning a reasonable balance of cost/performance), but I am willing to wait and see.

            BTW, you should know that all my BMW negativity is a bitter pill for me to take because I have been a BMW owner/enthusiast for decades. I do truly hope that the i4 lives up to the promotion. If it does, I’ll be inclined get one, depending on price. If not, I’ve been considering the Model 3 Performance ever since I got to test drive one. I would alter Gery’s comment, “I hope you are right because I want an i4,” to “I hope you are right because I want to want an i4.”

            P.S. I wonder if there could be any distant future where a BMW/Tesla collaboration yields a BMW body/chassis merged with a Tesla power plant.

          • M T says:

            You shouldn’t forget that Tesla is still only a grown, yes, but relatively young start-up, which lacks a lot of practical experience in how to build and – as we’ve seen with the Model 3 – manufacture vehicles economically at large numbers . BMW and many other establised ICE-OEM’s have already prooven since decaded that they can deliver outstanding products in their market segment, and most importantly, earn money with it! Tesla yet needs to proove this.
            Those OEM’s very well know that E-Drives ARE the future, but they also have a responsibility for not letting the ICE die too soon…

          • Rational says:

            I agree absolutely with your points about Tesla vs. BMW and other established ICE-OEM’s. And they are convincing as long as you believe there is no significant difference between designing and producing an ICE vehicle and designing and producing an EV. I don’t believe this is true, however, and I believe that is part of the reason why it was inevitable that an outsider (like Tesla) would have to lead real change.

            I’m not sure I agree with your idea that OEM’s have a “responsibility for not letting ICE die to soon.” Certainly, they have a responsibility to support existing ICE models, but that does not necessarily apply to making any new ICE models. However, I believe that it is probably in their economic interest to continue to produce new ICE models (because they have huge amounts of invested capital in ICE manufacturing). If that’s what you mean by “responsibility,” it’s a responsibility to shareholders but not necessarily the market, which only cares about what cars consumers want most.

            However, at some point I believe these two responsibilities (to shareholder and market) will converge – when an ICE company can’t sell enough new ICE models to support ICE capital investment. The problem is predicting that convergence and staying ahead of it – you don’t want to be the last ICE manufacturer to recognize it. If EVs really are the future, it’s almost certain that some ICE companies will misjudge that and cease to exist.

            On that note, I think we should all recognize that it is in the interest every ICE car company to get consumers to believe that ICE will be around for a very long time whether this is true or not. Similarly, it is in the interest of every EV company to project the idea that EVs are the future whether this is true or not. Since I believe the economic viability of EVs has already been well established, I believe the latter. If it is true, as time goes by pro-ICE companies and articles are going to start sounding more and more like tobacco companies denials.

          • Gery Katona says:

            The pictured i4 is not what the car currently undergoing tests looks like at all. It looks decidedly ordinary in comparison with typical ICE proportions. I am a manufacturing engineer and BMW enthusiast as well, but have only owned a ’71 2002 and a new ’99 5-series and would love get back into one again (I have been driving a Leaf for the past 8 years and a Boxster for occasional use). Tesla currently has the best battery technology but that can change at any time. Having a manufacturing background makes me a bit hesitant to get a Tesla though because I know it takes years to get good at making stuff and they have some well-known issues that only inexperienced manufacturers have.

          • Rational says:

            I share your concern about Tesla’s manufacturing ability. It undercuts appreciation for the features and performance they deliver. However, I don’t think these deficiencies are insurmountable – overall I believe they impact profitability more than product quality. Either way, I suppose the question is whether Tesla will overcome these issues sooner than ICE car companies will deliver a category-best EV at the same price. Tesla’s issues can be addressed by conventional solutions, whereas a best EV from ICE companies will go against the grain of design paradigms and culture (and probably their economic decision horizon as well). I believe the latter is a bigger ask.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

            So much speculation, so little reality. i3 & i8 are years old, BMW have learned nothing in a generation? Daimler & Toyota sold their Tesla shares years ago, no one has taken them up on their offer of free patents, why would BMW possibly consider collaborating? No one else has. Any distant future indeed.

          • Rational says:

            Just like every BMW enthusiast, I am waiting to see if they will deliver a market leading EV. i3 & i8 are many years old – whatever they’ve learned they haven’t turned it into a well-performing mainstream EV before Tesla did. “So much speculation, so little reality” – indeed. There’s been so much talk about what BMW can and will produce, but no reality yet. That’s the complaint – we’ve all been waiting. As I’ve already said, I do truly hope that the i4 lives up to the promotion – If it does, I’ll be inclined get one, depending on price.

            I should clarify my “wonder” about a distant future BMW/Tesla collaboration. There are a number of ICE car companies proficient at manufacturing car bodies and chassis but not EV powerplants and drivetrains, whereas Tesla excels in the latter while perhaps lagging in the former. This would be the foundation for a possible win-win joint venture. It doesn’t have to be BMW – I just prefer BMW bodies/chassis. In any case, I think this is extremely unlikely. It is more likely that EV competition will drive one or more mainstream ICE manufacturers out of business (unless government subsidies keep them alive). I’m sure there will be plenty of failed EV startups along the way as well. The remains of both types may be enough to satisfy the surviving companies.

            In addition, if Tesla and other EV manufacturers learn to refine their manufacturing quickly enough or ICE car manufacturers develop competing EVs quickly enough, neither will see any advantage in collaborating. At some point in the future though, I’ll there’ll probably be at least one EV company with a power plant struggling to make a suitable body/chassis and one ICE car company that can make a body/chassis but needs a competitive BE powerplant/drivetrain sooner than it can develop one on it’s own.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

            Absolutely NONE of your conjecture is in reality. If you would pay attention, best-selling BEV on most sales charts is “Other”, there is no “market leading EV”. Tesla are only regionally available, BMW Group had best-selling electric in Europe in December because they offer the widest range of BEV & PHEV. The market as a whole does not support electric & why they are a fraction of the total global market. BMW are an independent manufacturer on the cusp of their 5th generation BEV, why would they possibly hook up with Tesla or anyone? Also the only manufacturer pursuing universal/flexible ICE/BEV/PHEV/Diesel on the same flexible platforms & assembly lines. Stop speculating & wait for production results from the manufacturers investing billion$ in their futures. And ours.

          • Rational says:

            Which conjecture are you referring to – “waiting to see if they will deliver a market leading EV,”? BMW hasn’t turned it i3 & i8 experience into a well-performing mainstream EV yet?, or “I do truly hope that the i4 lives up to the promotion”?

            Or were you only referring to the paragraphs where I clarified my thoughts on a BMW/Tesla collaboration and called it “extremely unlikely” in addition to originally writing it might only occur in a “distant future.”

            One note on definition of terms, if EVs exist at all, there is a “market leading EV;” just because you can’t find a category defined as such on a sales chart, doesn’t make them cease to exist. (I get the feeling, you wish for that though.) I suppose this is only confusing if you thought I was suggesting that EVs are selling the most of all vehicles of every type. That would be as ludicrous to say as it would be to think that I meant it. A “market leading EV” is the top selling or best performing vehicle (depending on focus) among EVs. If you maintain that BMW is delivering a market leading EV by this measure in Europe, fair enough – we’ll see if that lasts since Tesla arrived there.

            Regarding your order for me to “stop speculating & wait,” I would remind you that the article we are commenting on is literally speculating about the yet to be released i4. Moreover, I have repeatedly said that I am in fact waiting to see, the i4 as well as the industry in general. In the meantime, I’m sorry that I can’t tell you that I will stop expressing my opinions, but you can certainly stop reading them if they upset you so much.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

            Until you see the i4 production vehicle, your opinions are fact free conjecture.

        • lovemakers says:

          Your first point about cabin space becuase of the straight inline six is utter fuckin garbage. Do you know how long bmw has been making i6 and how big there fuckin cars are now?

          A 4 series gc barely fits in my garage and your complaining on how the engine is going to take away from interior cabins space?

          Gtfo with this nonsense.

          • Gery Katona says:

            Sorry, not everybody gets a simple concept.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

            Not everybody provides facts about a vehicle they haven’t seen because it’s not even in production yet. Conjecture is not facts.

          • Gery Katona says:

            There are pictures all over the internet of the i4 winter testing. Pretty easy to see it is compromised. That car will not come close to selling as well as the Model 3.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

            Great! Meanwhile, back in reality, get back to me when any of this is actually as tested production, rather than hype, conjecture, speculation, spy photos, renders & unsubstantiated fictional wishful typing.

    • hans wee says:

      i’m sure it’ll compete with the model 3 fine. Yes for packaging it might not. But it’ll compete because every other thing in the car will be better than a model 3.

    • anotheran says:

      I usually agree with skepticism about BMWs ability to deliver truly ground breaking products but the CLAR platform that underpins the next GC and also this i4 was designed with a fully electric powertrain in mind:

      • Gery Katona says:

        Yes, the CLAR platform can accommodate an EV driveline, but less efficiently than a dedicated EV platform would. There are classic trade-offs in using a one-size-fits all solution..

        • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

          So a Model 3 has greater carrying capacity & lighter weight because BEV?! Don’t think so.

          • Gery Katona says:

            Who said anything about weight? All I am saying is that the packaging will be more efficient. And BMW has not proven they have the battery technology to compete with Tesla which still has the best. I am not a Tesla fan but they deserve recognition for what they have done and made themselves the benchmark which everyone else must be measured against. That is quite an accomplishment for a start-up that is competing in an extremely crowded field of well-established brands.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

            A start-up that has a monopoly market because they are competing in an extremely crowded field of well-established brands, absolutely none of whom produce Tesla competitors. Yet. Tesla do have the nicest tents of any manufacturer. Also the only tents, now that Barnum & Bailey have folded, so to speak. What anniversary is it of the announced 35k Model 3 that it may actually be available? Maybe? In a shuttered Tesla store from fired staff?

    • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5 says:

      Every production vehicle is compromised – gov’t. regulations, budget constraints, physics, consumer needs, and much more. If Model S isn’t compromised, why does it weigh 3 tons? What’s the interior capacity of Model 3? BMW being the only manufacturer to offer ICE/BEV/PHEV/Diesel is actually customer choice & versatility, i.e., the reverse of compromise. Why would Bavarian MOTOR Works not offer choice?

  5. maxnix says:

    News Flash! Battery powered cars do not require winter tires!

    Really? That is beyond nonsense. Traction or lack thereof depends on what contacts the road, not the power plant a vehicle utilizes.

  6. Alexander S says:

    BMW need to look at Audi’s faults (low sales of new E-Tron). Price, not super exotic design and practicality-these factors are for success.

  7. Dailybimmer says:

    If I want to drive electric, I can take a train.

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