2021 BMW i4 Has The Tesla Model 3 In Its Sights

The Tesla Model 3 continues to be the best-selling premium vehicle in the United States, but BMW is preparing to fire back with their upcoming i4.

Recently caught undergoing hot weather testing, the model is essentially an electric version of the 4-Series Gran Coupe. However, the cars aren’t exactly the same as the i4 adopts a fully enclosed grille which will likely echo the one used on the iX3 and iNext concepts.

Moving further back, the car has slender headlights and a sculpted hood. We can also see flowing bodywork and fake door handles. The decoys reside above the actual door handles and it appears owners will need to stick their fingers inside a small recess to open the doors. The setup seems a bit odd, especially when retractable door handles are becoming more common.

Putting that aside, the i4 has a sloping roof which flows into a rear liftgate. The model also has an integrated rear spoiler and a curvaceous rear bumper with fake exhaust tips.

More notably, the i4 has an increased ride height that gives the car a bit of a Volvo S60 Cross Country vibe. We can also see what appears to be an aluminum support or bracket underneath the side skirts.

While the exterior styling will be unique, previous spy photos have shown the cabin will largely carryover from the 3-Series. This means we can expect a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment system.

Also Read: 2021 BMW i4 Has 373+ Miles Of Range And A Parts Bin Interior

BMW hasn’t said much about the i4, but the company has previously referred to the model as a four-door coupe that will compete in the premium midrange segment. The car will go into production in 2021 and be able to accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 4.0 seconds.  It will also have a top speed in excess of 124 mph (200 km/h). More importantly, BMW has confirmed the electric vehicle will have a range in excess of 373 miles (600 km) in the WLTP test cycle.

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Picture credits: CarPix for Carscoops

  • Steve Cohn

    Hard to believe one of the top luxury automobile mfgs in Germany is playing catchup with an upstart electric car mfg in the U.S. BMW has had several generations producing some of the most advanced vehicles worldwide and it’s questionable that their electric motor in the i4 will be at the level of the very advanced elec motor in the Model 3.

    • willhaven

      I don’t think there’s anything advanced about Tesla’s electric motors. The batteries are a different story.

      • TheBelltower

        The motors achieve a level of efficiency that no other automaker has been able to match. It’s one reason that a new Model X gets 120 more miles than an Audi e-Tron with the same size battery, even though the X is much larger, has two more seats, accelerates much faster and has more storage front-and-rear.

        • filetx

          there is nothing new about the motors, synchronous motors just weren’t needed at that scale before battery vehicles. The massive range difference mainly comes from the aerodynamics, as traditional manufacturers struggle to integrate electric models into their design philosophy while making them efficient, which should only be a problem in the suv class

          • TheBelltower

            There is a pretty substantial difference between Tesla’s motors and other EV and hybrid motors. Tesla uses a permanent magnet reluctance system… which a first. There are a bunch of videos explaining what this is. I had to look up the aerodynamics, and you’re right about that. But I don’t believe that the .04 higher drag coefficient of the e-tron would account for the near 50% reduction in efficiency since it is a much smaller vehicle than the X.

        • In real world highway range testing the power consumption difference is ~10%. WLTP is highly unrealistic as it test range with a lot of sharp accelerationa and breaking which penalisies heavier cars unfairly.

          • TheBelltower

            The EPA has rated the e-Tron at 204 miles (WLTP 243 miles) and the Model X at 324 miles of range. The Audi/Tesla battery packs are 95KwHr and 100KwHr. In either method of testing, the Audi is considerably less efficient. Real world testing supports this.

          • Now read again *exactly* what I wrote. Both EPA and WLTP range testing involves a *lot* of acceleration and breaking and very little actual driving at highway speeds. That is why the ratings show incorrect ranges for heavier cars. In *all* real-life diving tests where Model X and e-Tron were driven side by side at the same speed for the same distance at highway speeds (90-150kmh) the actual consumption difference was 10-15%. There was a test by Teslabjorn and several tests by Nextmove with exactly the same results. EPA/WLTP rated range != real life highway range. Those are radically different for heavier cars.

          • TheBelltower

            I subscribe to Bjorn Nyland, so I went and watched the comparison. In it, Audi is the least efficient, and they are testing it against his 2016 Model X P100D. The latest Model X has different, more efficient motors today compared to three years ago. Plus, the Performance version is not as efficient as the standard non-P 100D. So I’m not sure what you’re saying. Even if we could agree that the difference is “only 10-15%”… the more efficient vehicle is wider than an Escalade, faster, offers more seating, has a higher safety rating, offers more storage, gets substantially more range than the other vehicle even though the battery capacity is nearly the same. Even using the outdated comparison, that says to me that there is some fairly impressive engineering expertise that went into the Model X that other EV automakers could benefit from.

    • Leconte Dave

      Blame the CEO. That’s one of the reason he was fired

  • TheBelltower

    This is going to be interesting. We’ll see. Munro Assoc. was impressed with the sophistication of the electric motor in the i3, so I wouldn’t be surprised if BMW had some tricks up their sleeves.

  • SteersUright

    It looks ok but, BMW sedans haven’t been very good looking for some time. Hopefully it can match or beat the model 3 on performance and price as well.

  • Matteo Tommasi

    The only “premium” thing about a Tesla is the price. Quality is worse than any other manifacturer selling cars in USA now.

  • 2JohnLars

    2021? Seriously? I’ve owned 4 Bmw’s and loved them, but does BMW realize how FAR BEHIND they are in the EV race?!!! And,I own an i3!!! For more ev news, and climate reporting I ask you to follow me on twitter @2johnlars. thanks.


    Choose one.

  • B.Stokes

    Some of the benefits of EV is being able to have a flat interior floor and a more spacious design inside. Also adding a frunk for more storage. BMW, Audi, & Mercedes seem to just throw batteries into petrol platforms so you dont have these features and use of space. Porsche is the only one I see really approaching the EV space correctly.

    I was really upset when the EQC and Etron had no frunk and big drive shaft columns in the interior. It seems cramped for such a big vehicle where Tesla makes a small car like the model 3 seem so spacious.

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