BMW i4 handling and performance demonstrated as car nears production

The BMW i4 electric saloon is due for release later this year, but the Munich brand has been coy about giving away too much detail about the car. Keen to show that the i4 will be more than a straight-line hero, BMW has most recently released a video showing handling tests alongside a range of new imagery.

What we do know about the i4 has come out in dribs and drabs. For example, way back in 2019 we learned that it would be getting 523bhp, enabling it to hit 62mph in four seconds dead. We also know that BMW has been working hard to make its fifth-generation electronic drive units, which power the i4, offer a linear power and torque delivery – just like the brand’s petrol motors.

At 80kWh, the i4’s battery, combined with its efficient motors and slippery drag coefficient, will enable the car to travel just shy of 375 miles on a charge. That battery pack weighs in at 550kg, but it is mounted low in the car to ensure the centre of gravity is as close to the tarmac as possible. This should help the handling – but more on that in a minute.

In the looks department, the i4 is taking on BMW’s new design direction. BMW released renders of the i4 concept late last year and, like the iX, it might be a hard car to like based on first impressions. The signature kidney grille has been made taller and far more exaggerated than previous BMWs, whilst creases and angles punctuate the flanks, side and rear of the car. But we’ll reserve judgement.

Latest developments

BMW has now released a new set of images and video, showing a camouflaged i4 in testing at the brand’s test ground in Aschheim, Germany. You can pick out the broad lines of the car, but the all-important details are still indistinguishable.

The work being undertaken at Aschheim is the final phase of dynamics testing, ensuring that the i4 continues the brand’s leadership in that area.

“For the first time, we’ve developed a BMW with sporty DNA for purely electric driving entirely from scratch,” explains project manager David Alfredo Ferrufino Camacho. “The BMW i4 offers everything BMW stands for – and it’s fully electric, too.”

BMW wants the i4 to be more than a straight-line autobahn stormer. It uses model-specific damping technology which reduces body squat when launching, whilst an ‘actuator-related wheel slip limitation’ system dishes out power to ensure optimum traction. Similarly, the suspension and drivetrain are integrated so that road contact is maximised, regardless of the cornering situation or control inputs.

The final calibration drive video below shows the i4 being pushed well beyond the limits of adhesion, so BMW is clearly serious about retaining that sporty feel.

Camacho said: “With its superior directional reliability and high level of cornering stability, it seems to literally attach itself to the road. All electric vehicles are capable of fast straight-line acceleration. But that’s not enough for us at BMW.”

BMW isn’t just hoping to offer a superior driving experience when pressing on. It is also tuning the i4 and its various components for driving comfort. In typically flowery language, BMW wants to “give the impression of an effortlessly floating vehicle… entirely unaffected by bumps in the road or difficult traction conditions”.

Watch the BMW i4 in action

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