Munich. The BMW Group is opening a new chapter in its
history with the unveiling of a pure-electric Gran Coupe. The BMW
Concept i4 takes electric drive to the core of the BMW brand and
heralds a new era in Sheer Driving Pleasure. The BMW Concept i4
represents a look ahead to the BMW i4, slated to enter production in
2021. It provides a whole new take on the dynamic excellence for which
BMW is renowned and blends a modern, elegantly sporty design with the
spaciousness and functionality of a four-door Gran Coupe – all while
generating zero local emissions.

“The BMW Concept i4 brings electrification to the core of the BMW
brand,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group
Design. “The design is dynamic, clean and elegant. In short: a perfect
BMW that happens to be zero emission.” The drivetrain’s standout
numbers include a range of up to 600 km (WLTP), output of up to 530
hp, 0 – 100 km/h (0 – 60 mph) acceleration of approximately 4.0
seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 km/h (124 mph). However, the
driving qualities of the BMW Concept i4 cannot be expressed in figures
alone. The virtually silent delivery of power creates an entirely new
sensation of dynamism.

“The design of the BMW Concept i4 shows fantastic proportions, a
powerfully expressive character and, of course, a lot of attention to
detail,” adds Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design. “With the BMW Curved
Display, we have redefined BMW’s signature driver focus in an
extremely elegant way. At the same time, the BMW Concept i4 transports
a feeling of sustainable driving pleasure.” As part of the package,
the Concept i4 includes several exterior and interior design elements
which will make an appearance in both the BMW i4 and other
electrically-powered production vehicles.


The exterior – electrifying aesthetics.

The modern, elegant exterior represents a deliberate counterpoint to
the dynamic flair of the driving experience. The perfectly resolved
Gran Coupe proportions create an authentic, modern and confident
appearance. The long wheelbase, fastback roofline and short overhangs
form a basic profile brimming with elegance and dynamism. With its
four doors, the BMW Concept i4 offers not only a high level of
everyday usability and practicality, but also a much larger interior
than the car’s modern and dynamic proportions would immediately suggest.


Clear surfaces and aerodynamic details.

Crisp, smooth lines and taut volumes merge into a rich, smoothly
contoured sculpture and create a clear surfacing language. The modern
exterior paint shade Frozen Light Copper reprises a colour nuance
displayed by the BMW Vision iNEXT and showcases the interplay of
surfaces to visually stunning effect. Blue elements in the front end,
flanks and rear end point to the car’s BMW i origins. They shine a
spotlight on the signature BMW i icons and bring the technology below
the surface to the fore – for example, the kidneys in their role as an
intelligence panel, the mouldings in the side skirts concealing the
battery technology, and the diffuser elements in the rear end, which
fill the design space vacated by exhaust tailpipes and enhance
aerodynamic efficiency.

A host of other aerodynamic measures maximise the car’s electric
range. The blanked off kidney grille and clear aero lips provide
detail examples of sophisticated airflow engineering at work. Another
distinctive area of the car are the wheel rims. These have been
designed exclusively for the BMW Concept i4 and blend aerodynamic and
lightweight design; smooth – and therefore aerodynamically optimised –
surfaces contrast with ultra-low-weight, high-strength spokes. The
rims extend the car’s palette of colours and materials, emphasising
its luxurious overall character.


The front end – the eye-catching face of a new era.

The front-end treatment of the BMW Concept i4 presents the familiar
BMW icons in a new look, lending a visually powerful face to the
electric age at BMW. The prominent, closed-off kidney grille provides
a tangible connection between the past and future of BMW. The BMW icon
also gains new functionality: With no combustion engine to require
cooling, the grille now serves primarily as an “intelligence panel”
housing various sensors. The grille teases the technology behind the
scenes with a special design for this model. The headlights likewise
provide a bridge between the past and the future; the classical
four-eyed front end is reprised here with a very modern and pared-back
interpretation. Two intricate, freestanding LED elements on either
side integrate all of the requisite light functions. Clean surfaces
and a small number of crisp lines around the grille create a
contemporary front-end graphic with considerable visual impact. A BMW
i-style blue accent in the grille surround sets the seal on the
front-end styling.


Taking the first steps with the new BMW brand identity.

In the course of the BMW Concept i4 presentation BMW is unveiling the
brand’s new look for the first time. The new logo for communications
also provides the basis for the badge on the BMW Concept i4. Its
two-dimensional and transparent design ensures seamless integration
and brings the special exterior colour shade Frozen Light Copper to
even greater prominence. The concept car not only has the task of
looking ahead to the future in terms of aesthetics, technology and
innovation, it also explores the design potential within our BMW trademark.


Striking rear end with aerodynamic features.

The rear of the BMW Concept i4 sits low over the road and cuts a
broad, horizontally emphasised figure. The surfaces progress across
the rear in a smooth and luxuriant movement, and give it a very modern
and calm appearance. The long, slim L-shaped rear lights continue the
theme. Below the rear lights, the inward-angled surfaces form
aerodynamics-enhancing lips and incorporate vertical air outlets. The
verticality of the design here emphasises the car’s sporting stance.
Further down, the rear apron has a forceful presence and enhances
aerodynamic efficiency. Where exhaust tailpipes would once have been
found, diffuser elements in BMW i Blue indicate the presence of a
pure-electric drive system and reference the design of the BMW i
Vision Dynamics.


The interior – innovation meets minimalism.

The interior of the BMW Concept i4 focuses on those times when the
driver chooses to pilot the car themselves. To this end, every element
in the front of the cabin is trained on the driver. The new BMW Curved
Display teams up with the steering wheel to reveal a new take on
driver orientation and offers a look ahead to the display in the
production versions of the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4. Here, the
presentation surfaces of the information display and Control Display
merge into a single unit inclined towards the driver. This screen
grouping optimises presentation of information and makes the display’s
touch operation more intuitive. Advanced display tech with
non-reflective glass also removes the need for a shroud to shade the
displays and therefore contributes to an extremely uncluttered and
airy cockpit.

The BMW Curved Display encompasses a large proportion of the section
in front of the driver and above the centre stack, and gives the front
area a very modern appearance. Its slim, borderless form exudes
quality and sophistication. Almost all operating functions are
integrated into the display as part of an overall approach centred on
reducing the number of haptic controls to the minimum. Even the
climate control system now works by touch control.


Focus on the essential.

The front section of the interior around the BMW Curved Display also
majors on pared-back design. The understated use of different
materials and the fundamental arrangement of controls creates a modern
yet also luxurious ambience. With this in mind, elements such as air
outlets are integrated almost invisibly into the overall geometry and
concealed behind strong patterns.

Accent strips in warm Gold Bronze blending to chrome lend the
interior a high-class touch. The central control panel replaces a
traditional gear lever with a toggle-type shifter. Elements such as
the iDrive Controller and seat memory buttons in the doors are
finished in a classy crystal glass. The cloth/leather combination for
the seats – composed of microfibre with line graphics and natural
leather tanned using olive leaf – sets a high-quality and sustainable
seal on the interior. The overall result is a clearly structured,
bright and airy cabin which brings across the tranquillity and
authority of electric drive systems.


Spacious rear compartment.

Rear-seat passengers are greeted by a generously-sized compartment
offering levels of headroom and legroom that exceed expectations of a
coupe. Integral head restraints for the front and rear seats add
further to the sporting feel. The cut-out in the head restraints is a
classy detail that references sporty BMW models from the current line-up.

The rear seats extend the horizontal graphic emerging from the doors
to create a lounge feel in the rear. Meanwhile, the outer seats
reprise the dynamic form of the front seats, heightening the sporting
flavour. They also use very little stitching, which further emphasises
the clean and modern feel.


Further developed user interface design with Experience Modes.

The screen grouping with new BMW Curved Display provides a digital
gateway into the electric age at BMW. Look and feel are clearly
influenced by the latest electronic devices and have been made
deliberately less “automotive” in nature. In the display itself, flat
layers provide considerable visual depth. Overall, the BMW Curved
Display and new presentation approach combine to provide a first-class
content-viewing experience.

Three different Experience Modes enable users to explore the various
facets of the electric drive system and provide a look ahead – in
terms of visuals at least – to the next-generation operating system
from 2021. The sometimes emphasised visual differentiation between the
three Experience Modes (“Core”, “Sport” and “Efficient”) spans
everything from how the user experiences the display and graphics to
how the interior is presented. Ambient lighting in the dashboard,
doors and (indirectly) below the display indicate the technical
adjustments taking place.

“Core” mode introduces the driver’s area to an updated interpretation
of the four “widgets” familiar from the display concept of existing
models. Here, the graphics reprise the pattern above the air vents and
the Gold Bronze accent colour, consciously referencing the car’s
interior design. In the area where the central display used to be
positioned, a map and widgets now line up alongside one another. The
user can navigate around the diagonal widgets using a swipe movement
and arrange them intuitively by drag-and-drop. This allows them to
adapt the display to their personal preferences.

In “Sport” mode, the “widgets” come closer together and create a
focussed view. Sideways movements behind the zones are used to show
how tight the next corner is, facilitating anticipatory driving. This
form of content presentation also allows effective peripheral viewing.
The right-hand area of the display shows specific functions in a
similar way to BMW M’s lap timer app.

“Efficient” mode debuts an “Assisted Driving View”, which shows the
driver what the car’s sensors are detecting. This Experience Mode
opens up deeper insights into the car’s technology, such as how it
communicates with its surroundings. In the BMW Concept i4, the focus
here is on anticipatory and efficient driving, and key information for
efficient driving is incorporated. The right-hand area of the display
shows additional vehicle information, such as the charge level and range.


The sound of the BMW Concept i4.

The BMW Concept i4 is not only characterised by its individual
design, but also by its own visionary and unique sound. It was
developed under the brand name of BMW IconicSounds Electric by world
renowned composer Hans Zimmer together with BMW Sound Designer Renzo
Vitale. BMW IconicSounds Electric aims to emotionalise BMW’s electric
vehicles and make them audible using individual sound worlds. The
sound of the BMW Concept i4 achieves this to perfection – it combines
BMW’s past and future. It gives the driver the feeling that there
are no limits of expression. The sound is manifold, surprising and
it provides a sense of lightness and transparency. The sound worlds of
the BMW Concept i4 range from the driving sounds in “Core”
mode to the more intense and pronounced sounds of “Sport”
mode. Also included are the sounds of the door opening and the
starting scenario.


The technology as earmarked for the upcoming BMW i4.

Fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology is a defining feature of the
BMW i4 and therefore also of future electric mobility. The BMW iX3 due
to go into production in 2020 will lead the way in the application of
the new tech, which will be introduced in a number of electrically
powered BMW vehicles – such as the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4. The electric
motor, power electronics, charging unit and high-voltage battery using
fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology are all-new developments
enabling the BMW Group to take another significant step forward in the
field of electrified drive systems. The electric motor developed for
the BMW i4 generates maximum output of up to 390 kW/530 hp, which
ranks it alongside a current BMW V8 combustion engine. Its
instantaneous power delivery gives the BMW i4 standout performance
attributes and exceptional efficiency.

The fifth generation of BMW eDrive also brings a newly designed
high-voltage battery with the very latest battery cell technology. The
version of the battery developed for the BMW i4 impresses with its
extremely slim construction and optimised energy density. It weighs
roughly 550 kilograms, has an energy content of around 80 kWh and
achieves an operating range of up to 600 km in the WLTP cycle.

All in all, fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology sets new standards
in terms of power density, efficiency and range in locally
emission-free driving.


Series production of the new BMW i4.

Series production of the new BMW i4 will begin in 2021 at the BMW
Group’s main plant in Munich. This means that, in the future,
combustion-engined vehicles, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles
will be manufactured on the same assembly line in Munich.

Integrating the BMW i4 into the existing production system represents
a challenging task for Plant Munich. The body concept of the BMW i4
differs from the architectures of the vehicle models produced at the
plant to date due to the need to accommodate its high-voltage battery.
Approximately 90 per cent of the existing production equipment in the
body shop can be incorporated into the process, i.e. adapted to
manufacture of the i4. However, the remaining ten per cent –
especially the machinery involved in building the rear structure –
will need to be newly built.

A separate new piece of equipment will be fitted in the assembly
halls for installation of the high-voltage battery, as the battery
needs to be fitted in the car from below. A particular challenge in
the conversion/installation process are the crowded structures of the
assembly halls. Working within these tight confines, old machinery
will have to be removed and new equipment installed and brought on
stream within a six-week period. This requires long-term planning and
precise implementation.

The company is investing a total of around 200 million euros in Plant
Munich to bring series production of the BMW i4 to fruition.