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BMW locks in early 2022 launch for local i4 range

E-Tron GT-baiting BMW i4 M50 boasts sub-four-second sprint time

4 Jun 2021

THE six months spanning October-March are going to be busy for BMW Australia as it launches the iX, iX3, M3/M4 Competition xDrives, M4 Convertible and the i4, the latter of which was this week confirmed to be arriving Down Under in the first quarter of 2022.


While pricing and the finer specification details are still to be confirmed, the local i4 line-up will initially consist of two just variants, those being the eDrive40 and the M-fettled M50.


In classic BMW style, the eDrive40 will be strictly rear-wheel-drive, featuring a single electric motor mounted to the rear axle developing 250kW/430Nm.


With the motor being fed by an 83.9kW/h lithium-ion battery, the base i4 will reportedly go from 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds and cover up to 590km on a single charge according to the WLTP cycle.


The M50 meanwhile features a dual-motor setup – one on each axle – developing a much more potent 400kW/795Nm, slashing the 0-100km/h time down to a claimed 3.9 seconds.


Given it shares the same battery capacity as its lesser sibling, the M50’s range is predictably shorter with BMW pegging the official WLTP figure at 510km on the account of the extra motor and power.


When it comes to recharging meanwhile, both variants can be charged at up to 200kW with BMW claiming up to 164km can be added to the eDrive40’s range after just 10 minutes connected to a DC fast charger from a starting point of 10 per cent – 140km for the M50.


Flaunting four doors and a sloping roofline, the i4 is the best indication yet as to what the looming 4 Series Gran Coupe will look like, even though it doesn’t feature the Gran Coupe nomenclature in its name.


At the front is a filled-in take on the 4 Series’ vertical kidney grille arrangement which now houses all the relevant sensors, radars and cameras for the various safety systems – front-collision warning, speed limit info, lane-departure warning and park-distance control to name a few – and luxuries given it no longer needs to allow air into the engine bay.


Under the skin, the i4 rides on a double-joint spring strut front axle and a five-link rear axle with lift-related dampers in all four corners and air springs at the rear.


The M50 predictably goes one or two steps further than the eDrive40 with adaptive M suspension, variable sport steering and M Sport brakes.


Cornering dynamics are helped further by the i4’s low centre of gravity – 53mm lower than a 3 Series – thanks to the underfloor packaging of the battery and axle-mounted electric motor(s).


As usual, various M Performance parts will be available as optional extras along with a heap of BMW M Sport and M Carbon exterior packs and features to help up the visual ante.


Inside the cabin, the interior is dominated by the new BMW “Curved Display” which encompasses a 12.3-inch information display and a 14.9-inch control display into one seamless interface oriented towards the driver for optimum ergonomics.


Like the iX premium-electric SUV, the infotainment duties will come courtesy of the new-generation BMW Operating System 8 which will include the latest version of iDrive and an enhanced BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.


Global standard equipment highlights meanwhile will include three-zone climate control, cloud-based satellite navigation, 5G connectivity, active cruise control with automatic speed limit assist, route monitoring and the steering and lane control assistant.


The local arm of BMW has sold 11,030 new vehicles so far this year ending May, marking a 18.9 percent sales increase on the 9273 units it shifted over the same period last year.

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