The automotive world is in a mild tingly genitals state because BMW’s new all-electric car, the i4, was officially launched Tuesday, even though we saw it in March, already. Now, though, we know all the specs, and, even better, we got to see what I think is the car’s best detail, which I think is also a first for BMW.
First, the allegedly important stuff: The i4 will come in two versions, the i4 eDrive40 which requires you to relinquish $56,395 of your dollars, or the i4 M50 which demands $66,895.
The eDrive40 (weird name) has one motor mounted at the rear and makes 335 horsepower, and is able to hit 62 mph from a dead stop in 5.7 seconds, and go 300 miles on a charge (367 WTLP cycle) . It’s also the first three-box-style rear-engined car BMW has made since the BMW 700.
The M50 version is, as the “M” may have hinted, the sporty one, with two motors making a combined 536 hp and can get to 62 in 3.9 seconds, and can still get you 245 (317 WTLP) miles away from your home on one charge.
Seems like smart owners will drive their cars WTLP-style, right?
Both variants actually use the same 84 kWh battery pack, but the one-motor eDrive40 sips those electrons instead of chugging them, so it manages to go further.
Looking at the cutaway of the car, I am a disappointed that BMW didn’t seem to be willing to be bothered to package the components to allow for a frunk, which many of its competitors managed to do. These frunkless EVs feel a bit lazy, packaging-wise, to me.
The interior seems to have some nice wood-grainy materials, and the instrument cluster and center-stack display are merged into one wide, slightly curved LCD screen, which gives a clean look. The UX appears to be non-skeumorphic, which I like, too.
If you miss the noise of a BMW that turns dead dinosaurs into heat and pressure and then reciprocating motion and then rotational motion, BMW tells us they have a plan:
Model-specific drive sound delivers authentic feedback to movement of the accelerator and speed. BMW i4 M50 with extremely energy-charged soundtrack. Optional BMW IconicSounds Electric enables integration of new sound variants created as part of a collaboration with film music composer Hans Zimmer.
So, if you liked the soundtrack to Inception, boy are you in luck!
There’s lots of interesting details about the car: the center of gravity is 53 millimeters lower than a 3 Series sedan, it can tow a 3,527-pound trailer (but I bet it’ll kill your range), it has a tailgate instead of just a trunk, the motors avoid the use of rare earth metals, it has 5g internet (so I guess that means it’s been vaccinated?) and it has a Cd of 0.24.
Sure, those are great. But the best detail is this:
Look at that! You lift the BMW roundel to fill up the washer fluid!
(I found that it’s not on the i4 as well; just the iX! Sorry! And dammit.)
As far as I can tell, no BMW roundel has ever been used as a cap for a washer fluid reservoir; they’ve hidden air extraction vents and on the Isetta the gas cap had a roundel:
...so it’s not the first time BMW has had a removable roundel to pour fluids into a car, but it’s certainly the first in the Modern Era of BMW. Personally, I’d love it if those big kidney-not-grilles were actually translucent washer fluid reservoirs, and you could see the blue fluid sloshing around inside them, like this:
I’ll have to find out from BMW if it’s too late to change that. I bet they still can.