BMW has released the first official images of its new i4 all-electric saloon.
The rival to the Tesla Model 3 is due to go on sale later this year - three months ahead of schedule - and will, according to BMW, offer a combination of performance and comfort unique to the segment.
While BMW’s other recent EV announcements have been about SUVs, including the iX3 and iX, the i4 is a traditional four-door saloon - or “gran coupe” if you listen to BMW’s designers. The first images show a very clear similarity to the combustion-engined 4 Series coupe, and the upcoming 4 Series Gran Coupe is expected to be almost identical to its electric stablemate in appearance.
Underpinning the i4 is the same platform already used for the petrol and diesel-powered 3 Series and 4 Series but here everything is electrically driven.
BMW says the i4 will be available in several different versions, including a range-topping M Performance model with 523bhp and a 0-60mph time of around four seconds. Less powerful models will be able to cover up to 366 miles on a single charge of the i4’s battery.
“With its sporty looks, best in class driving dynamics and zero local emissions, the BMW i4 is a true BMW. It makes the heart of the BMW brand now beat fully electric,” said Pieter Nota, BMW’s head of customer, brands and sales.
The i4 was unveiled as part of a strategy announcement setting out BMW’s vision for the coming decade.
Setting out the strategy, BMW chairman Oliver Zipse said that the brand was moving rapidly towards an electrified future, with plans for a dozen fully electric models on sale by 2023, including EV versions of the X1, 5 Series, 7 Series and Mini Countryman, and covering 90 per cent of its market segments.
Beyond that, the marque wants EV sales to account for half of all new models by 2025.
As part of the strategy Zipse also confirmed that Mini will become an all-electric brand by the early 2030s, with its final combustion-engined model going on sale in 2025.