BMW i4 Concept
One of the most publicized events of 2011 was the unveiling of BMW i3 and i8 Concepts at Frankfurt Motor Show. Reported to be already under development, the high-efficiency i range from BMW is already seeing new addition even before the official launch of the i8 hybrid supercar and the all-electric i3 city car.
The two more models reported to have started shaping up are the i4 and i5 that feature drive trains matching the BMW i3 and BMW i8 and look to be Low-Cost Performance variants in the new range. These new models will feature the same carbon fibre-reinforced plastic construction as the i3 and i8, plus adapted versions of the powertrains found in those cars, the small, family-centered 2-seater with a wider track, a lot more sporting stance, a sloping roof, and an architecture similar to the i3.
The initial rumors suggest that the model will be based on the i3, but is hard to say, at this time, whether or not the new model will be offered in the same silhouette as the mega city.
In terms of design, expect the BMW i4 to be as longer as i3 model, a simple extension of the current under-production offering with appropriate space for four people, rear hinged doors, sleek aerodynamics. Probably there will be other i-specific cues incorporated within the cutting-edge CFRP construction, keeping the price tag low and this way the people who might actually want to own an i8 but are running short of money and require a more accessible offer.
Keep in mind that the BMW i4 will be a sportier variant based on the i3 with 2-seats with a sloping roof, an architecture similar to the i3, a wider track, and a lot more sporting stance. If it’s so, the i4 will be the same on-road appeal and performance as an i8 but with the mega city functionality of the i3.
Though details about what BMW intends to offer with the new model are sketchy at the moment and purely speculative, the power is likely to come from a range-extended electric drivetrain or a plug-in electric machine. Also available in the i4 would be city model’s optional two-cylinder range-extending engine with the i3’s electric motors being upgraded to deliver a sportier drive.
As for the price and availability, expect the Bavarian automaker to intensify its marketing efforts around their new i sub-brand this year. Considering that the BMW i3 will be launched next year, the i4 will make an appearance as a concept version after the i8′s launch in 2014. While the German car maker is aiming to extend sales into the developing world markets and buyers in the sub-family car range with trim levels costing extra, the new model is expected to be offered at a much more achievable price.