BMW i4 Spy Shots Capture Long-Range Electric Sedan In The Snow

FEB 28 2019 BY MARK KANE 30

The prototype with painted exhaust pipes is back out in action.

BMW is conducting winter tests of a prototype i4 model, which this time was caught by spy photographers in motion.

As you can see from the side profile, BMW installed the skateboard battery, which is slightly protruding from the raised 4 Series Gran Coupe donor car.

Production of the i4 is planned from 2021 on at the Munich plant in Germany. BMW i4 is one of the several next-generation models with the all-new 5th generation eDrive platform.

The long-range i4 electric sedan will likely be one of the most anticipated new electric cars from the German make. Provided it’s not crazy expensive, BMW could have a real hit on its hands here. Guess we’ll find out for sure in just less than 2 year’s time.

BMW i4 expected (unofficial) specs:

  • BMW i4 80 sDrive (for rear-wheel drive)
  • BMW i4 80 xDrive (for dual motor all-wheel drive)
  • 80 kWh (plus 60 kWh version)
  • 5th generation eDrive platform for BEVs will be offering ranges between 550-700 km (340-435 miles)
9 photos

Images: CarPix

Categories: BMW, Spy Photos


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30 Comments on "BMW i4 Spy Shots Capture Long-Range Electric Sedan In The Snow"

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If 80 kWh is what it will have, it will not reach 700km. As simple as that. no way. I don’t understand manufacturers don’t understand how much they are shooting themselves in the foot by making claims like this. I’m sure it’s going to be a great car, BMW, but please give us real world figures.

Wow, that is the first thing I noticed too. Actually, 80 kWh at 340 is about the same as Model 3 LR RWD and may be doable but anything above that is ridiculous. They’ll have to make this very light to do so and it looks like a 5000lb vehicle.

Those are not EPA numbers. Given the general superior performance of Tesla cars efficiency wise I would think 280 miles from 80 gross kWh would be about the most one could hope for from this BMW.

No, but they are not NEDC numbers either. All testing has gone WLTP.

True, but the WLTP is still more generous than the EPA test cycles.

Also, it depends on the body shape. Will BMW let aerodynamics and a smooth nose win, or will we see another goofy gaping, enormous fake grille like Jaguar and Audi built?

My bet is on a goofy fake BMW horse collar grille. These legacy auto guys do love them some signature grilles, don’t they? Have you seen BMW new upcoming designs and concept cars? Holy Schnikies! I always thought the horse collar was ugly, yet usually it was small. These days, BMW is putting horse collars ON STEROIDS on the fronts of their vehicles!

To legacy car companies, branding is supreme. You need to know what that car you saw was by its grille shape. Marketers insist on it. To me, it’s stupid. I know a McClaren when I see one. I don’t need a GAPING HOLE to identify with. This is one area not spoken of much.Tesla started with the entire shape of their vehicles, making aerodynamics “cool”, and a calling card.

I hope they will use a small grill like they used to – and not the weird looking one they have showed.
Just hope they will use tech from i3/i8 in it. Range is normally not important for me, but to be competetive – they must at least offer some models with an OK range.
This is two years from now. I guess they have calculated improved batteries too.
As long as more cars come to the market, I’m not going to complain..
I’m just waiting for a good passenger van with a range I can live with, and a price I’m willing to pay – before the incentives stop in Norway. Since BMW don’t make vans I have to see if VW, Renault, IVECO, FIAT og others can make one.

The Kona has a similar range as the Model 3 MR (260 miles vs 258 miles EPA) and both have a same size battery. Plus the Kona is not a purpose built EV and has a relatively bad drag coefficient. Why should BMW not be able to beat Tesla’s efficiency? In two years time on top of that?

That is a gas 4 Series body. How can we tell how heavy or light an i4 would look?

You did notice it said Unofficial specs, right…? 80kWh might not be the biggest battery it will get…

It might be a 100kWh with 20% security buffer for 350kW charging.

Maybe while we wait 2 years (or more) for this non-CFRP land yacht EV from BMW they could toss a few more cells in the i3 platform to bring it up to that 60-80 kwh… with 100+ kw/800V charging and comfort drive/TJA. Also would be really smart if BMW got around to offering battery upgrades in America to first gen i3s… prove it can be a real option to new buyers.

The new revision of BMW I3 with 120 Ah battery =150 MJ (42 kWh) will be the final version.

The replacement will be the IX3 model that will be on sale in spring 2020.

I agree, BMW should offer for a reasonable price the battery upgrade to all existing owners of the I3 model.

I doubt BMW or any other maker will ever offer upgrade battery packs for past vehicles, unless there’s a defect or something like that.

BMW did and does offer upgrades to the i3 in Europe.

This isn’t the i4, they should stop calling it that.

Problem is, it would still be an i3. Overpriced, tall cramped four seater susceptible to crosswinds with quirky styling that appeals to a niche within a niche….and those nutty suicide doors that only work one way…..Skinny tires…..

3-Series was the best selling luxury performance sedan until Model 3, so I expect BMW to do whatever it takes to get back to the top. This includes a much lighter body and cleaner interior/exterior design. Eliminating all those knobs, switches and extra interior/exterior trim pieces has to save Tesla quite a bit on production costs. BMW will also save by eliminating all the expensive ICE related components with a reduction in production steps/hours from the manufacturing costs.

But I think the low volume of battery packs is what will keep the price high. Unlike what is expected for the Audi A4 EV that’s coming, that will share a drivetrain with VW branded models.

Agree, but that’s not the decision BMW has made. They are sharing the platform so what we’ll get is the Lowest Common Denominator. In short, an EV that comes with all the negatives of a gas engine platform for no benefit to the consumer.

I just hope it doesn’t have the 80’s giant steering wheel and pixelated orange LCD. After taking a look at BMW’s earlier this year, it’s hard to believe they are considered a luxury brand. Instead of a BMW, I drove my totaled vehicle for 6 months until the Model 3 arrived…glad I waited!

What’s the point in camouflaging a mule?

To not show what it looks like?

If you were paying attention to the article you would see that it’s a four series body bolted onto an i4 battery pack and drivetrain so his point is why would they camouflage a four series body?


In general, it used to be that spy shots were taken with deep zoom lenses, but now it seems spy shots are more cat walk photo shoots from all angles where the soon to launch car is dressed up in “look at me” designs, this BMW even with sign “Electric Test Vehicle”.

I was thinking the same thing! I think the answer might be that they are seeking attention from photographs and articles just like this one because they’re so far away from an actual i 4 model with its own body.

I thought the i4 would draw inspiration from the futuristic i Vision Dynamics.. but still, it is looking great in current form! A normal electric BMW, looking forward to it! Just hoping it will give atleast 600km from a full charge.

Lots of you missed the fact in the article that this is just a battery pack and drivetrain with a current 4-series body bolted onto it. The actual i4 will probably look nothing like this.

The question is a valid one, why would BMW camouflage a 4-series body?

You are right! I missed it, many sites have called this mule the i4, maybe thats why I missed it. It makes sense to put the battery in a 4GC mule to test it instead of making a prototype of i4 with iVD design. Maybe BMW havent come so far? The i4 and iNext are intended to be released in 2021, and both are being tested at the same time in prototype forms, however, the design of the iNext mule is more similar to its concept. I dont know which direction BMW will go with the i4 (after all the iX3 is a electric x3) but CEO Harald Kruger promised us the iVD production car at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show, so lets hope that is the car we get in 2021.

Will we see this car by 2021? What can we learn from all these photos? A 4 Series body only gives us an approximate size of this car and it’s battery pack.

Given that BMW is cold weather testing this drivetrain is important, but what about cold weather testing the body? If you don’t feel that is important, you don’t own a Model 3 in a record cold winter like I do.

This story gives us practically zero new information. By the time this new BMW or any if it’s offshoots hits dealer floors, Tesla will have nearly three more years of expansion. Model Y will be on roads, Model 3s produced in China will be multiplying like bunnies. A $35,000 base 3 will be in reach of consumers. There will be a pickup truck nearly done and probably reveals of S and X v.2.0.

Beancounters will still be struggling with EVs over in Munich. Gas SUVs will still be their top sellers. Its just that after Model Y, BMW will sell a lot less of them. I think BMW, of all Tesla’s competitors, has the most to lose if they don’t speed things up over there.

Manufacturers tend to winter test vehicles 2 times. With a new electric drivetrain, they may do this 3 times.
The final testing is usually minor changes with fine tuning of ABS and ESP systems – and to confirm the tweaks after the first testing is good enough. Usually there are some minor material changes and adjustments to plastic parts. I know about cars where they test, make prototype changes and send parts to Sweden, and continue to do this several times. Usually they have enough knowledge and experience so they can avoid that.