The Geneva Motor Show gets underway next week and, as is the case every year, it promises to be a real eye-opener. BMW, for one, will be treating visitors to a much-awaited concept: the i4 electric sedan. It’s expected that the model presented at the show will be close to production-ready in form and provide a good idea of what it will look like once it hits the road.
Aesthetically, with electric models designers enjoy more freedom to experiment with the different proportions of a vehicle, but in the case of the i4 concept, from the early teaser image it looks a lot like the BMW sedans we know. The long hood, short trunk lid and leaking roofline are typical of 2, 4 and 8 Series Gran Coupe models.
"The design is dynamic, clean, and elegant. In short: a perfect BMW that happens to be zero emission," said Adrian van Hooydonk, the brand's Senior Vice President for Design, in a statement.
The i4 will be powered by BMW's fifth-generation electric technology. Expect 530 hp of total output and a 0-97 km/h acceleration time of 4 seconds. As for range, it's expected to reach 600 km on the European test cycle. We know from experience that that will be less here, and considering that the lithium-ion battery's capacity is 80 kWh, it could be much less.
The i4 will share its base platform with the gasoline-powered 3 Series. The extensive use of carbon fibre will partially offset the added weight of the battery pack.
Experience has taught us that BMW rarely builds a concept just for the fun of it. With the notable exception of the magnificent models it regularly exhibits at the Villa d'Este, the vast majority of its designs are already well on their way to production by the time they are unveiled. There's no reason to think that the BMW i4 will be an exception to the rule. Trial versions have already been seen on the road, and it’s hoped that the production version will hit the road towards the end of 2020 or early 2021. And why not at the Geneva Motor Show in 2021? The model should be available for the year 2022.
We don’t know yet whether the i4 concept will be the only star on the BMW stand in Geneva or whether it will share the limelight with another model. Rumours have been circulating about the presentation of the new-generation 4 Series, but BMW is said to have delayed its introduction to highlight its electrification strategy. If we don't see that coupe in Geneva, there's a good chance it will be presented at the New York Auto Show in April.