2021 BMW i4 Electric Sports Sedan Is Coming For Tesla’s Model 3

Update 2/5/2019: Development of BMW’s all-electric i4 has shifted into high gear, with our spies nabbing a prototype for the first time on the road, as it was previously only been seen on a trailer. We have added the new photos in the gallery below. 

These are the first spy shots of the upcoming 2021 BMW i4, which represents the German automaker’s next step in the i range and targets to give Tesla a genuine headache once it arrives in the market.

Perhaps the most surprising fact about the BMW i4 is the lack of a proper futuristic design, looking more like a 4-Series Gran Coupe and less like a four-door version of an i8.

That’s probably because BMW wanted the i4 to look more approachable to customers, since this will be one of the first i models that will actually rely on its commercial success.

With that said, the four-door coupe style of the 4-Series Gran Coupe is one of the most successful in the market, and this test car will definitely gain its own unique design cues, like bespoke front and rear fascias to appeal more on early EV adopters.

Things like a set of BMW i-specific kidneys for the front grille and unique door handles are just some of the expected design features. BMW has previously said that the i4 will draw inspiration from the i Vision Dynamics concept, which was revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The production model doesn’t look as near as aggressive or special as the 2017 i Vision Dynamics Concept

The upcoming BMW i4 will ride on the company’s CLAR architecture, just like all BMW models from the 3-Series and above. Some reports say that it will be part of the overall 4-Series range, which will offer petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and of course all-electric powertrains.

The 2021 BMW i4 will offer a choice between rear- and all-wheel drive. The base version will have an electric motor mounted on the front driving the rear wheels through a fixed ratio transmission, targeting to offer a dynamic and pure BMW driving experience.

The more expensive, range-topping model will use two electric motors, each driving their respective axle. BMW’s target is for the i4 to offer a driving range of up to 435 miles (700km), as well as class-leading 0-62mph times.

more photos...

Image Credits: CarPix & S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for CarScoops

  • Jureck

    Looks promising

    • mm ds

      as usual…………

      i guess

  • Jason Panamera

    Show me photos of the interior. The only thing I need.

    • Bash

      Me too. Although why should we expect it to be something new?

  • YUDHA BAGASKARA

    i see the influnces of new 3 series

  • Knotmyrealname

    Why only pics of the i4? There seems to be plenty of other wrapped test cars on that transporter?

    • thesigma3

      need more info on that MINI!

      • Knotmyrealname

        Agree!!!!

      • Mr. EP9

        Probably an update on an existing model or a brand new generation perhaps?

        • thesigma3

          Will be the electric mini I guess, since it’s packed in with the i4

  • Steve Cohn

    Now the car above the 4 series electric car on the carrier is also a forthcoming model. It’s obviously an SUV & it’s probably not electric since I noticed an exhaust outlet (unless it’s a fake). I wish pictures were also taken of this one.

  • salamOOn

    700km range? pretty good.

  • driv3r

    Thank god that they seem to have decided against the hideous design of the front of the i Vision Dynamics concept and against the very odd side window graphic of the same concept.

    Actually it looks very similar to a regular predecessor of the 4 series GranCoupé which makes me think that the i4 might actually only be an electric version of the next generation 4 series GranCoupé. Similar to what BMW is doing with the current X3 and the upcoming iX3 (although the i4 and 4 series GC will differ more in terms of platform and tech than their X-brothers).

  • Arthur Burnside

    Question is which Tesla it competes against – it’s too good to be a Model 3 competitor, even the outrageously priced Model 3 version, and the Model S and Model X base versions ($80,000 235 miles) were just discontinued because of poor sales due to the Porsche Taycan and Jaguar I Pace. That leaves the $100,000 and up Models S/X. The driving range is far greater than any Tesla – the $100,000 Model S range is less than 300 miles. The $130,000 version about 330 miles.

    • Daniel

      you speak from a position of inside knowledge, which is highly unlikely. have you driven the new i4 and compared to a Model 3 or any other EV? These articles are good for the pictures so the public can see get an idea of the general styling direction – and let’s be honest about this, BMW’s styling direction leaves a lot to be desired

      • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5

        Yes, why they’re doing record volume & expanding.

    • ” were just discontinued because of poor sales due to the Porsche Taycan and Jaguar I Pace”
      THEY TAYCAN HASN’T BEEN RELEASED AND THE JAG WANTS TO GIVE BUYERS $600 BECAUSE THE I PACE DOESN’T HAVE FEATURES PROMISED AND JAG CAN’T OR WONT FIX THEM.

  • erly5

    Disappointing design and obviously just an electric version of the forthcoming 4 Series. I like the futuristic looks of the i3 and i8 but loojs like they are going to be one-off designs if the iX3 and i4 are indicative of BMW’s future electric range.

    • Stephen G

      THANKS! I’ve been saying it for years. Disappointing design! With the exception of a few models, most of the BMW line is a big snoozer. Cars that cost this kind of money should have allot more appeal and charisma

      • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5

        Neither i3 or i8 are volume sellers. 5 BMW models won design awards last year.

  • FordMopar

    Was BMW inspired by Ford Focus rims?? They could’ve designed a bit more futuristic look to the rims. SMH

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8a68b3fc13fc36f478ec479571c1e459a7c3d0ff72cb91b06ef6c624b431658a.png

    • mm ds

      yes, great cars are everywhere…….

    • Yilmaz Yasar

      BMW have been using it for 10 or more years on base models and you can see all bmw test mule have that rims

      • NoMan2015

        Exactly, you can’t judge the final product based on this mule. We have no idea what the production rims will look like.

  • LOOKS LIKE THE BANGLE BUTT IS MAKING A COME BACK.

    • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5

      It never left. Actually van Hooydonk butt, current BMW design chief. Oh, & BMW became #1 global premium for the 1st time under BANGLE BUTT.

  • TheBelltower

    As an owner of an i3 (yes I like goofy cars) and a Model X, I can say with absolute certainty that Tesla has nothing to worry about here.

    • Rivaldo

      700 km range ? We don’t know the interior, but i’m sure it will be superior to the low cost interior from Tesla 3.

      • The interior will probably be the same as the new 3 series

      • TheBelltower

        Definitely more conventional than the 3. Once owners experience the inconsistent level of EV expertise, charging capabilities and service from BMW dealers, people will understand the benefit of wholly owned service centers. Yes, BMW is considerably worse than Tesla.

        • Rivaldo

          The interior of Tesla 3 isn’t unconventional, is cheap.

          • TheBelltower

            That’s fine for you to say. Though from your comments, it’s pretty clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5

          Yes, the limited production regional BEV manufacturer who offers up free patents no one wants, whose shares Daimler & Toyota sold off years ago, is superior to the century old German global manufacturer engineering firm who produce ICE/BEV/PHEV/Diesel. Tesla have actually been going from state to state challenging dealerships in court, a hierarchy that has been privately held for decades, BMW want to do their own retailing & service as well. Good luck.

          • TheBelltower

            I hope BMW succeeds. But in my experience, they are a bit of a mess when it comes to EV’s. The franchise structure makes it incredibly difficult.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5

            i3 is sold globally, I’ve seen co.’s use them locally as fleet delivery vehicles. Few consumers base their choice on the dealer (who hopefully you see infrequently), i3 is 1st of multiple volume BEV. As opposed to mess, they were actually 1st German manufacturer to jump in, i3 has had same lifespan as any new model, as BMW prep its successor(s).

  • SteersUright

    So that’s the best BMW could do? I doubt it. This looks more like an upscale Prius alternative more than anything to worry a Tesla.

    • driv3r

      Well, the Model 3 has almost the very same shape in terms of overall body styling…

      • SteersUright

        Yes, but the big brakes, wheels and killer performance set it apart. Also, the interior with the massive screen. That said, the Model 3 is NOT a good looking car. The front is entirely awkward and the rest is just sleek, bland and forgettable.

        • driv3r

          We don’t know anything about “big brakes, wheels and killer performance” of the BMW i4 yet. And following BMWs tradition of driver focused cars one can pretty sure that this BMW will be a drivers car as well.

          • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5

            As every i3 owner review I’ve read says it is, for yrs. now.

    • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5

      Tessa have more than enough worries of their own. When do their tents have to be back? Filled their waitlists yet? Produced a Model e @ promoted advertised list price yet?

  • Mike

    Stop the Lies.
    This is in no way the i4.

    This is a CONVERSION of the 4 series, only a blind person with no touch input could be fooled into thinking this “thing” is the beautiful i4.
    The i4 is Dead.
    BMW assures the success of Tesla.

    • cnet-970ad33b278bd3b05502252be3640ea5

      Ha! You haven’t even seen it.

    • Christo Max

      What’s it like living with dementia?

  • Brian

    Looks like the i Vision Dynamics design wont happen as BMW promised. The i4 is now just a electric version of the 4 series. Maybe BMW will surprise us when they unveil the production version, but as of now the i4 is disappointing and sad.

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