BMW Concept i4

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020 - BMW

The BMW Group is opening a new chapter in itshistory with the unveiling of a pure-electric Gran Coupe. The BMWConcept i4 takes electric drive to the core of the BMW brand andheralds a new era in Sheer Driving Pleasure. The BMW Concept i4represents a look ahead to the BMW i4, slated to enter production in2021. It provides a whole new take on the dynamic excellence for whichBMW is renowned and blends a modern, elegantly sporty design with thespaciousness and functionality of a four-door Gran Coupe – all whilegenerating zero local emissions.

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

“The design of the BMW Concept i4 shows fantastic proportions, apowerfully expressive character and, of course, a lot of attention todetail,” adds Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design. “With the BMW CurvedDisplay, we have redefined BMW’s signature driver focus in anextremely elegant way. At the same time, the BMW Concept i4 transportsa feeling of sustainable driving pleasure.” As part of the package,the Concept i4 includes several exterior and interior design elementswhich will make an appearance in both the BMW i4 and otherelectrically-powered production vehicles.

The exterior – electrifying aesthetics
The modern, elegant exterior represents a deliberate counterpoint tothe dynamic flair of the driving experience. The perfectly resolvedGran Coupe proportions create an authentic, modern and confidentappearance. The long wheelbase, fastback roofline and short overhangsform a basic profile brimming with elegance and dynamism. With itsfour doors, the BMW Concept i4 offers not only a high level ofeveryday usability and practicality, but also a much larger interiorthan 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, smoothlycontoured sculpture and create a clear surfacing language. The modernexterior paint shade Frozen Light Copper reprises a colour nuancedisplayed by the BMW Vision iNEXT and showcases the interplay ofsurfaces to visually stunning effect. Blue elements in the front end,flanks and rear end point to the car’s BMW i origins. They shine aspotlight on the signature BMW i icons and bring the technology belowthe surface to the fore – for example, the kidneys in their role as anintelligence panel, the mouldings in the side skirts concealing thebattery technology, and the diffuser elements in the rear end, whichfill the design space vacated by exhaust tailpipes and enhanceaerodynamic efficiency.

A host of other aerodynamic measures maximise the car’s electricrange. The blanked off kidney grille and clear aero lips providedetail examples of sophisticated airflow engineering at work. Anotherdistinctive area of the car are the wheel rims. These have beendesigned exclusively for the BMW Concept i4 and blend aerodynamic andlightweight design; smooth – and therefore aerodynamically optimised – surfaces contrast with ultra-low-weight, high-strength spokes. Therims extend the car’s palette of colours and materials, emphasisingits 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 familiarBMW icons in a new look, lending a visually powerful face to theelectric age at BMW. The prominent, closed-off kidney grille providesa tangible connection between the past and future of BMW. The BMW iconalso gains new functionality: With no combustion engine to requirecooling, the grille now serves primarily as an “intelligence panel” housing various sensors. The grille teases the technology behind thescenes with a special design for this model. The headlights likewiseprovide a bridge between the past and the future; the classicalfour-eyed front end is reprised here with a very modern and pared-backinterpretation. Two intricate, freestanding LED elements on eitherside integrate all of the requisite light functions. Clean surfacesand a small number of crisp lines around the grille create acontemporary front-end graphic with considerable visual impact. A BMWi-style blue accent in the grille surround sets the seal on thefront-end styling.

Taking the first steps with the new BMW brand identity
In the course of the BMW Concept i4 presentation BMW is unveiling thebrand’s new look for the first time. The new logo for communicationsalso provides the basis for the badge on the BMW Concept i4. Itstwo-dimensional and transparent design ensures seamless integrationand brings the special exterior colour shade Frozen Light Copper toeven greater prominence. The concept car not only has the task oflooking ahead to the future in terms of aesthetics, technology andinnovation, 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 abroad, horizontally emphasised figure. The surfaces progress acrossthe rear in a smooth and luxuriant movement, and give it a very modernand calm appearance. The long, slim L-shaped rear lights continue thetheme. Below the rear lights, the inward-angled surfaces formaerodynamics-enhancing lips and incorporate vertical air outlets. Theverticality of the design here emphasises the car’s sporting stance.Further down, the rear apron has a forceful presence and enhancesaerodynamic efficiency. Where exhaust tailpipes would once have beenfound, diffuser elements in BMW i Blue indicate the presence of apure-electric drive system and reference the design of the BMW iVision Dynamics.

The interior – innovation meets minimalism
The interior of the BMW Concept i4 focuses on those times when thedriver chooses to pilot the car themselves. To this end, every elementin the front of the cabin is trained on the driver. The new BMW CurvedDisplay teams up with the steering wheel to reveal a new take ondriver orientation and offers a look ahead to the display in theproduction versions of the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4. Here, thepresentation surfaces of the information display and Control Displaymerge into a single unit inclined towards the driver. This screengrouping optimises presentation of information and makes the display’stouch operation more intuitive. Advanced display tech withnon-reflective glass also removes the need for a shroud to shade thedisplays and therefore contributes to an extremely uncluttered andairy cockpit.

The BMW Curved Display encompasses a large proportion of the sectionin front of the driver and above the centre stack, and gives the frontarea a very modern appearance. Its slim, borderless form exudesquality and sophistication. Almost all operating functions areintegrated into the display as part of an overall approach centred onreducing the number of haptic controls to the minimum. Even theclimate control system now works by touch control.

Focus on the essential
The front section of the interior around the BMW Curved Display alsomajors on pared-back design. The understated use of differentmaterials and the fundamental arrangement of controls creates a modernyet also luxurious ambience. With this in mind, elements such as airoutlets are integrated almost invisibly into the overall geometry andconcealed behind strong patterns.

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

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

The rear seats extend the horizontal graphic emerging from the doorsto create a lounge feel in the rear. Meanwhile, the outer seatsreprise the dynamic form of the front seats, heightening the sportingflavour. They also use very little stitching, which further emphasisesthe clean and modern feel.

Further developed user interface design with Experience Modes
The screen grouping with new BMW Curved Display provides a digitalgateway into the electric age at BMW. Look and feel are clearlyinfluenced by the latest electronic devices and have been madedeliberately less “automotive” in nature. In the display itself, flatlayers provide considerable visual depth. Overall, the BMW CurvedDisplay and new presentation approach combine to provide a first-classcontent-viewing experience.

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

“Core” mode introduces the driver’s area to an updated interpretationof the four “widgets” familiar from the display concept of existingmodels. Here, the graphics reprise the pattern above the air vents andthe Gold Bronze accent colour, consciously referencing the car’sinterior design. In the area where the central display used to bepositioned, a map and widgets now line up alongside one another. Theuser can navigate around the diagonal widgets using a swipe movementand arrange them intuitively by drag-and-drop. This allows them toadapt the display to their personal preferences.

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

“Efficient” mode debuts an “Assisted Driving View”, which shows thedriver what the car’s sensors are detecting. This Experience Modeopens up deeper insights into the car’s technology, such as how itcommunicates with its surroundings. In the BMW Concept i4, the focushere is on anticipatory and efficient driving, and key information forefficient driving is incorporated. The right-hand area of the displayshows 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 individualdesign, but also by its own visionary and unique sound. It wasdeveloped under the brand name of BMW IconicSounds Electric by worldrenowned composer Hans Zimmer together with BMW Sound Designer RenzoVitale. BMW IconicSounds Electric aims to emotionalise BMW's electricvehicles and make them audible using individual sound worlds. Thesound of the BMW Concept i4 achieves this to perfection – it combinesBMW’s past and future. It gives the driver the feeling that thereare no limits of expression. The sound is manifold, surprising andit provides a sense of lightness and transparency. The sound worlds ofthe 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 thestarting scenario.

The technology as earmarked for the upcoming BMW i4
Fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology is a defining feature of theBMW i4 and therefore also of future electric mobility. The BMW iX3 dueto go into production in 2020 will lead the way in the application ofthe new tech, which will be introduced in a number of electricallypowered BMW vehicles – such as the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4. The electricmotor, power electronics, charging unit and high-voltage battery usingfifth-generation BMW eDrive technology are all-new developmentsenabling the BMW Group to take another significant step forward in thefield of electrified drive systems. The electric motor developed forthe BMW i4 generates maximum output of up to 390 kW/530 hp, whichranks it alongside a current BMW V8 combustion engine. Itsinstantaneous power delivery gives the BMW i4 standout performanceattributes and exceptional efficiency.

The fifth generation of BMW eDrive also brings a newly designedhigh-voltage battery with the very latest battery cell technology. Theversion of the battery developed for the BMW i4 impresses with itsextremely slim construction and optimised energy density. It weighsroughly 550 kilograms, has an energy content of around 80 kWh andachieves an operating range of up to 600 km in the WLTP cycle.

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

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

Integrating the BMW i4 into the existing production system representsa challenging task for Plant Munich. The body concept of the BMW i4differs from the architectures of the vehicle models produced at theplant to date due to the need to accommodate its high-voltage battery.Approximately 90 per cent of the existing production equipment in thebody shop can be incorporated into the process, i.e. adapted tomanufacture 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 assemblyhalls for installation of the high-voltage battery, as the batteryneeds to be fitted in the car from below. A particular challenge inthe conversion/installation process are the crowded structures of theassembly halls. Working within these tight confines, old machinerywill have to be removed and new equipment installed and brought onstream within a six-week period. This requires long-term planning andprecise implementation.

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