2021 BMW i4 to feature new iDrive 8 infotainment system

  • Previewed by exclusive images
  • 0-62mph in four seconds with a top speed of 124mph
  • Production of the BMW i4 will start in 2021

The upcoming BMW i4 will be one of the first cars to feature BMW’s new iDrive 8 infotainment system. The new system will use two screens mounted side-by-side and is also going to be used in the BMW iX SUV, as well as many more future BMW models.

Set to be launched later in the year, the i4 will be an electric version of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe – a model based on the BMW 3 Series with sleeker looks. The 2021 BMW i4 will rival the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2.

BMW i4 iDrive 8 infotainment

This image is from the iX, but it’s thought most parts will be carried over to the i4. You get two screens to look at: a 12.3-inch digital dial cluster and a huge 14.9-inch touchscreen, which can also be controlled using a rotary dial next to the gear selector. The surrounding buttons have been replaced with touch panels in the trim, with the panels invisible when the ignition is turned off.

BMW has highlighted the level of personalisation you can expect in the new iDrive system, which allows you to change the ambient lighting colour, the weight of the steering and even the graphics on the screen. There are several layouts for the touchscreen, including a ‘Focus’ mode for “extremely dynamic driving situations”,and new personal assistant tech that can be renamed to anything you want to call it. All the settings you change can be assigned to a driver profile, so your individual preferences come into effect when you get in.

The navigation system ‘learns’ your frequent journeys – like a daily commute – and can preemptively load up directions and traffic info. Software updates happen over-the-air, and the car will ‘wake up’ when you’re three metres away if it senses you’re approaching.

The interior of the i4 concept car featured a four-seat layout, with seats trimmed in sustainably sourced materials, including microfibre and natural leather. Elsewhere, bronze detailing is dotted around the dashboard and door panels.

Styling

Our exclusive images suggest how the upcoming BMW i4 saloon could look when it launches. The BMW Concept i4 previewed the upcoming production model and BMW told us the concept was around 85% representative of the final, showroom-ready car. It’ll get sleek headlights and big grilles like the 4 Series, but the grilles will be blank to highlight its electric powertrain. Elsewhere, there’ll be a host of blue touches, just like the recently revealed BMW iX3 SUV.

The car’s flowing coupe-style rooline leads to a ‘ducktail’ style bootlid, which features narrow tail-lights and a prominent rear diffuser. Large aero-efficient alloy wheels also feature and extended side sills hide the car’s battery pack.

Powertrain and performance

The Concept i4 features the fifth generation of BMW’s eDrive battery technology, with an 80kWh battery providing a claimed range of 373 miles. BMW says that the car’s battery features an ‘extremely slim’ design and weighs only 550kg. The car produces 523bhp and is capable of 0-62mph in four seconds with a top speed of 124mph.

An electric BMW 3 Series is also in the pipeline. We also know that the brand is set to reveal a host of electric models in the next two years, including the iX1, i5, i7 and the iX.

What does it mean for car buyers?

When it arrives in 2021, the all-electric BMW i4 will be a direct rival to the Tesla Model 3 and a genuine electric alternative to conventionally powered models of the 3 Series. It looks likely to match the Model 3 for technology while beating its 348-mile range with a 373-mile range, which should be enough for most owners. Add to this BMW’s reputation for producing great driver’s cars, plus the premium badge, and the i4 could well be a tempting alternative to the Model 3 for buyers that want to make the switch to electric.

Want to know more about BMW’s electrified model range? Check out our reviews of the BMW 330e, BMW X5 xDrive45e and BMW i3.