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Behold the BMW Concept i4

The BMW Group is opening a new chapter in its history with the unveiling of a pure-electric Gran Coupe. The BMW Concept i4 takes electric drive to the core of the BMW brand and heralds a new era in Sheer Driving Pleasure.

The BMW Concept i4 represents a look ahead to the BMW i4, slated to enter production in 2021 as the BMW Group’s first all-electric model in the premium midsize class. It provides a whole new take on the dynamic excellence for which BMW is renowned and blends a modern, elegantly sporty design with the spaciousness and functionality of a four-door Gran Coupe – all while generating zero local emissions.

“The BMW Concept i4 brings electrification to the core of the BMW brand,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The design is dynamic, clean and elegant. In short: a perfect BMW that happens to be zero emission.” The drivetrain’s standout numbers include an estimated EPA range of 270 miles / WLTP range of 600 km. However, the driving qualities of the BMW Concept i4 cannot be expressed in figures alone. The virtually silent delivery of power creates an entirely new sensation of dynamism.

“The design of the BMW Concept i4 shows fantastic proportions, a powerfully expressive character and, of course, a lot of attention to detail,” adds Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design. “With the BMW Curved Display, we have redefined BMW’s signature driver focus in an extremely elegant way. At the same time, the BMW Concept i4 transports a feeling of sustainable driving pleasure.” As part of the package, the Concept i4 includes several exterior and interior design elements which will make an appearance in both the BMW i4 and other electrically-powered production vehicles.

Styling

The modern, elegant exterior represents a deliberate counterpoint to the dynamic flair of the driving experience. The perfectly resolved Gran Coupe proportions create an authentic, modern and confident appearance. The long wheelbase, fastback roofline and short overhangs form a basic profile brimming with elegance and dynamism. With its four doors, the BMW Concept i4 offers not only a high level of everyday usability and practicality, but also a much larger interior than the car’s modern and dynamic proportions would immediately suggest.

Crisp, smooth lines and taut volumes merge into a rich, smoothly contoured sculpture and create a clear surfacing language. The modern exterior paint shade Frozen Light Copper reprises a colour nuance displayed by the BMW Vision iNEXT and showcases the interplay of surfaces to visually stunning effect. Blue elements in the front end, flanks and rear end point to the car’s BMW i origins. They shine a spotlight on the signature BMW i icons and bring the technology below the surface to the fore – for example, the kidneys in their role as an intelligence panel, the mouldings in the side skirts concealing the battery technology, and the diffuser elements in the rear end, which fill the design space vacated by exhaust tailpipes and enhance aerodynamic efficiency.

A host of other aerodynamic measures maximise the car’s electric range. The blanked off kidney grille and clear aero lips provide detail examples of sophisticated airflow engineering at work. Another distinctive area of the car are the wheel rims. These have been designed exclusively for the BMW Concept i4 and blend aerodynamic and lightweight design; smooth – and therefore aerodynamically optimised – surfaces contrast with ultra-low-weight, highstrength spokes. The rims extend the car’s palette of colours and materials, emphasising its luxurious overall character.

The front-end treatment of the BMW Concept i4 presents the familiar BMW icons in a new look, lending a visually powerful face to the electric age at BMW. The prominent, closed-off kidney grille provides a tangible connection between the past and future of BMW. The BMW icon also gains new functionality: With no combustion engine to require cooling, the grille now serves primarily as an “intelligence panel” housing various sensors. The grille teases the technology behind the scenes with a special design for this model. The headlights likewise provide a bridge between the past and the future; the classical four-eyed front end is reprised here with a very modern and pared-back interpretation. Two intricate, freestanding LED elements on either side integrate all of the requisite light functions. Clean surfaces and a small number of crisp lines around the grille create a contemporary front-end graphic with considerable visual impact. A BMW i-style blue accent in the grille surround sets the seal on the front-end styling.

 In the course of the BMW Concept i4 presentation BMW is unveiling the brand’s new look for the first time. The new logo for communications also provides the basis for the badge on the BMW Concept i4. Its two-dimensional and transparent design ensures seamless integration and brings the special exterior colour shade Frozen Light Copper to even greater prominence. The concept car not only has the task of looking ahead to the future in terms of aesthetics, technology and innovation, it also explores the design potential within our BMW trademark.

The rear of the BMW Concept i4 sits low over the road and cuts a broad, horizontally emphasised figure. The surfaces progress across the rear in a smooth and luxuriant movement, and give it a very modern and calm appearance. The long, slim L-shaped rear lights continue the theme. Below the rear lights, the inward-angled surfaces form aerodynamics-enhancing lips and incorporate vertical air outlets. The verticality of the design here emphasises the car’s sporting stance. Further down, the rear apron has a forceful presence and enhances aerodynamic efficiency. Where exhaust tailpipes would once have been found, diffuser elements in BMW i Blue indicate the presence of a pure-electric drive system and reference the design of the BMW i Vision Dynamics.

Interior
The interior of the BMW Concept i4 focuses on those times when the driver chooses to pilot the car themselves. To this end, every element in the front of the cabin is trained on the driver.The new BMW Curved Display teams up with the steering wheel to reveal a new take on driver orientation and offers a look ahead to the display in the production versions of the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4. Here, the presentation surfaces of the information display and Control Display merge into a single unit inclined towards the driver. This screen grouping optimises presentation of information and makes the display’s touch operation more intuitive. Advanced display tech with non-reflective glass also removes the need for a shroud to shade the displays and therefore contributes to an extremely uncluttered and airy cockpit. The BMW Curved Display encompasses a large proportion of the section in front of the driver and above the centre stack, and gives the front area a very modern appearance. Its slim, borderless form exudes quality and sophistication. Almost all operating functions are integrated into the display as part of an overall approach centred on reducing the number of haptic controls to the minimum. Even the climate control system now works by touch control.

The essential.
The front section of the interior around the BMW Curved Display also majors on pared-back design. The understated use of different materials and the fundamental arrangement of controls creates a modern yet also luxurious ambience. With this in mind, elements such as air outlets are integrated almost invisibly into the overall geometry and concealed behind strong patterns.

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

Comfort and Space
Rear-seat passengers are greeted by a generously-sized compartment offering levels of headroom and legroom that exceed expectations of a coupe. Integral head restraints for the front and rear seats add further to the sporting feel. The cut-out in the head restraints is a classy detail that references sporty BMW models from the current line-up.

The rear seats extend the horizontal graphic emerging from the doors to create a lounge feel in the rear. Meanwhile, the outer seats reprise the dynamic form of the front seats, heightening the sporting flavour. They also use very little stitching, which further emphasises the clean and
modern feel.

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