BMW talks up ‘sporty DNA’ for incoming i4

Will it drift? Yes

By Sam Sheehan / Friday, January 22, 2021 / Loading comments

Almost a year since BMW pulled the covers off the i4 concept, the final setup is now being certified ahead of production. The confirmed spec remains the same: a peak output of 530hp, four-second 0-62mph time and a claimed WLTP range of 373 miles. Only now the manufacturer wants to talk about the chassis, well aware that if the new model doesn't perform there, it is dead in the water. Achieving a compromise between sporty and comfortable is the target, of course. And the capacity to go sideways. 

In the latest vid, project leader David Alfredo Ferrufino Camacho highlights the i4’s steering weighting, the way it returns to centre and the suspension’s damping; we’re told to expect a linear – and so hopefully easily readable – control surface tune, as well as a supple, adjustable ride. Naturally BMW talks up the model-specific damper tuning to reduce pitch and roll, without making the car firm, while taking advantage of the EV's low centre of gravity. 

The firm has also employed the use of its so-called “actuator-related wheel slip limitation” tech, something it introduced first on the i3 to manage the instantaneous torque delivery of electric power, which is said to be much faster than conventional stability control systems in keeping things in check. Apparently, even the entry rear-wheel drive car (all-wheel drive is due as well) will be capable of slip-free starts. Judging by the angles Ferrufino pulls in the video – not to mention a spin – there’s an off button, too. Good stuff.

We’ve not been given any more on the rest of the car, but it’s widely expected that BMW’s fifth-generation electric tech includes a high-voltage charging system. The battery is said to be extremely slim in construction and of high-energy density, although it still tips the scales at 550kg. No doubt keeping that weight under control has been the chassis engineers the biggest challenge in delivering a car which “conveys the feeling of being light and agile yet also solid and authoritative”, according to Camacho. Bodes well for the M version that is almost certainly in the pipeline, too.

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