BMW is taking on Tesla's popular Model 3 starting next year with its first mass-market, all-electric midsize sedan.
The Concept i4, a near-production version of BMW's next four-door Gran Coupe, can travel 373 miles on a single charge, accelerate from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in about four seconds and reach a top speed of more than 200 kph. It is powered by an electric drivetrain that offers the equivalent of 530 hp.
The car will offer "thrilling performance," CEO Oliver Zipse said during an introduction streamed online. "Our customers will never have to compromise between driving pleasure and sustainable mobility. The BMW i4 is proof of that."
The concept features a long wheelbase, sleek roofline and short overhangs and is "quite close" to the series car that arrives in 2021, Zipse said.
"We took the 3-series GT and the 4-series Gran Coupe, put them together and came up with this concept," Zipse told Bloomberg Television. "With that, it's got the typical BMW genes that you wouldn't see in any other car."
The i4, based on the 3-series architecture, will slot next to the iNext as BMW's two flagship electric offerings in 2021. The i4 will go on sale in Europe in the second half of next year, shortly after the iNext, BMW sales chief Pieter Nota said. U.S. sales are expected to begin in 2022.
BMW's signature kidney grille no longer directs cooling air to a radiator; it's now an intelligence panel housing various sensors. It also features a reimagined BMW logo, minus the black band, the first change since 1997.
Inside the cabin, a curved touch screen replaces the traditional driver information center and directs details and readings toward the driver.
A prominent aerodynamic diffuser at the rear was created in the absence of exhaust pipes and is set to become a regular feature on electrified BMWs.