BMW i4 prototype signals a more conventional future for i cars

28 January 2019 - Autoblog

BMW i4 prototype signals a more conventional future for i cars

It's still more interesting than the iX3, though

BMW's electric i division is best known for the outrageously futuristic i3 hatchback and i8 sports car, but it looks like future models will be seriously toned down. One of our spy photographers caught this prototype BMW on a car hauler, and we suspect it's the upcoming 2020 BMW i4.

Although nowhere on the prototype are signs of contrasting color panels, oddly shaped windows or aerodynamic wings, it does reveal that it's an electric car with the signage on the vinyl wrap. It even has fake exhaust tips. Also, while the shape is fairly typical BMW, it takes those styling cues and makes them sportier and more exaggerated. The nose is particularly long, with the front wheels pushed way forward. It does have a Gran Turismo-style hatchback and rear quarter window, but the roofline is quite low, with the back of it dropping down quickly, almost like a Gran Coupe. We also still see a few subtle references to the i Vision Dynamics Concept such as the subtle Coke bottle curves in the sides and slender, pointy headlights.

Going more conservative with the i brand's designs has precedence, too. The BMW iX3 made its debut last spring, and it looked nearly identical to the gas-powered X3. The only changes included a closed-off, conjoined kidney grille, smoother front bumper and some blue accents. We suspect the same features will appear on this i4.

This prototype's size fits reports that the new BMW  i sedan would be a small-to-midsize Tesla competitor. The range of the car is expected to be in the high 300-mile range, and the company promised it would launch it for 2020. With such a high electric range, the car could be pricey, since Tesla's longest-range vehicle, the Model S 100D starts at about $85,000.

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