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New BMW i4 2021: specs, range and on-sale date

The fully electric 3 Series alternative will go on sale in November; line-up features BMW’s first electric M performance model

This is the BMW i4: the German brand’s answer to the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3. From launch, the fully electric 3 Series alternative will only be available in two trim levels, but the i4 line-up will also feature BMW’s first electric M performance model.

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The i4 goes on sale in November 2021, with prices for the entry-level i4 eDrive40 Sport starting at £51,905 – £10,900 more than an entry-level Tesla Model 3 or £3,400 more than the Model 3 Long Range.

Prices for the i4 eDrive40 M Sport start at £53,405, which is £7,500 more than the top-of-the-range, dual-motor Polestar 2. The high-performance i4 M50 (below) will start at £63,905, which is also nearly £4,000 more than its main rival, the Tesla Model 3 Performance.

BMW i4 power, performance, handling and trim levels

The i4 eDrive40 is the entry-level drivetrain, using a single rear-mounted electric motor that produces 335bhp for a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds. Under the aerodynamic bodywork is an 81kWh battery, which will allow you to cover up to 365 miles on a single charge.

From launch, the i4 eDrive40 will be available in two trim levels: Sport and M Sport. Sport comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, a reversing camera, heated front seats and BMW’s parking assistant. M Sport adds a few interior and exterior styling tweaks, including a more aggressive front bumper and larger air intakes. The M Sport also ditches the more aerodynamic wheels of the Sport, replacing them with more conventional 18-inch lightweight alloys.

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The top-of-the-range i4 M50 gets a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup that produces 537bhp and will accelerate the car from 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds. It has the same 81kWh battery as the basic i4, but the M50’s range is reduced to 318 miles. The M50 comes as standard with 19-inch alloys, as well as a host of interior and exterior styling changes and as BMW’s driving assistant system.

BMW is promising best-in-class handling for the i4. According to the car's project manager David Alfredo Ferrufino Camacho: "The i4 conveys the feeling of being light and agile yet also solid and authoritative. With its superior directional reliability and high level of cornering stability, it seems to literally attach itself to the road. All electric vehicles are capable of fast straight-line acceleration. But that’s not enough for us at BMW."

Range, battery and charging

As noted, both models use an 81kWh battery, for a maximum range of 367 and 316 miles for the xDrive40 and M50 models respectively. You can recharge the i4 at up to 205kW, if you can find a fast enough ultra-rapid charger ‘in the wild’. If you do, you’ll be able to add 102 miles of range to the xDrive40 in 10 minutes, or 87 miles to an M50 in the same amount of time.

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You can also top up the i4 using AC charging up to 11kW, which will replenish the 81kWh battery from 0 to 100% in eight-and-a-half hours. Or, if you use a more common 7.4kW home wallbox charger, it'll take 13 hours to completely recharge the i4's battery.

Design, interior and technology

From outside, the car’s profile is familiarly BMW: a long bonnet, rakish roofline and a small ‘Hofmeister Kink’ in the three-quarter window help to bring the i4 in line with the rest of the line-up. Large side strakes also feature, highlighted blue in true BMW i fashion. That blue theme continues on the car’s grille and around the large diffusers on the rear.

Inside, the i4 is more like a conventional BMW, although it does have a curved panel that features both the 12.3-inch driver’s screen and the 14.9-inch infotainment display – much like what you’ll find in the larger BMW iX electric SUV. 

There are several option bundles available for the i4, including a visibility pack that adds BMW’s Laserlight headlights, as well as Comfort and Comfort Plus packs. An M Sport Pro pack adds adaptive suspension, sports steering, exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels and M Sport brakes and seatbelts. Prices for these packs haven’t been announced yet.

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Welcome one and all, I’m Ellis the news reporter on Auto Express, the brand’s former online reviews editor and contributor to DrivingElectric. I’m proud to say I cut my teeth reporting and reviewing all things EV as the content editor on DrivingElectric. I joined the team while completing my master’s degree in automotive journalism at Coventry University and since then I’ve driven just about every electric car and hybrid I could get my hands on.

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