2020 BMW Concept i4 previewed ahead of Geneva Motor Show debut

BMW’s first series-produced electric sedan is around the corner. Named i4, the 3 Series-sized model will make its debut as a close-to-production concept car during the 2020 Geneva Motor Show opening its doors on March 3.

Electric powertrains give designers the freedom to experiment with different proportions, but the Concept i4 looks very much like a BMW. It features a long hood, a short trunk lid, and a fastback-like roof line that earns it the Gran Coupe distinction currently reserved for four-door variants of the 2, the 4, and the 8. We can tell its front fenders get air breathers that reduce turbulence in the wheel wells, but the full design remains under wraps — or, more specifically, coated by a watery substance that could be an odd-colored chocolate or a molten mineral.

“The design is dynamic, clean, and elegant. In short: a perfect BMW that happens to be zero emission,” hinted Adrian van Hooydonk, the brand’s senior vice president of design, in a statement.

BMW’s fifth-generation electric technology will power the i4. Expect up to 530 horsepower for a four-second sprint from zero to 60 mph, and about 373 miles of range on the confoundingly optimistic WLTP testing cycle used in Europe thanks to an 80-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. And yet, the i4 will share its basic platform with the gasoline-powered 3 Series. Copious use of carbon fiber will partially offset the battery’s weight.

Years of covering auto shows have taught us BMW rarely builds a concept car just for the heck of it. With the notable exception of the gorgeous models it regularly displays at Villa d’Este, a vast majority of its design studies are already well on their way to production by the time they’re unveiled by a high-ranking executive. There’s no reason to assume the BMW i4 is the exception to the rule. We’ve spotted test mules already, and we expect to see the production version of it either in late 2020 or in early 2021, and in dealers by the 2022 model year.

It’s still too early to tell if the Concept i4 will be the sole star of BMW’s stand in Geneva, or if it will share the spotlight with another model. An earlier report claimed we’d discover the next-generation 4 Series and its gaping maw in Switzerland, but BMW allegedly delayed its introduction to highlight its electrification strategy. If we don’t see the coupe in Geneva, there’s a good chance it will break cover at the New York show in April.

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