BMW made a number of big announcements on Wednesday. Let’s go through them so we can get to the important stuff: they’re planning on selling 50% electric vehicles by 2030, the BMW Group will make the Mini brand 100% electric by the same year, and a brand new electric SUV called the iX is coming this year.
That’s all terribly exciting, especially for BMW fans, but it also sounds similar to all the high-minded EV forecasts we’ve been hearing from just about every automaker. What’s important isn’t so much what will be changing at the automaker as much as what won’t be changing, a quality that is represented in the newly announced electric i4 Gran Coupé.
The four-door sporty sedan is set to hit the market this year as a 2022 model, will produce up to 530 horsepower, hit a 0-62 mph time of four seconds (they’re German, so that’s a 100 km/h conversion), and get up to 300 miles on a full charge (estimated using EPA standards, though not an official rating).
The most important thing though is that the i4 just looks like a classic BMW sedan.
When people buy BMWs, they’re of course buying them for performance and interior comfort, but they’re also buying them for their singular design. Even if you took all the badging off, you’d know a BMW if you saw one, just like you’d know a Porsche or Rolls-Royce. And fans deeply care about their design legacy, too, which is why there’s been so much handwringing over their increasingly large grilles. So when automakers from Volkswagen to Hyundai are radically changing their designs to suit the futuristic feeling many people expect from electric vehicles, it wouldn’t have been out of the question for BMW to give in to pressure to create something that screams “space age.” We’re glad they’re sticking to their guns.
That’s not to say all of BMW’s EV designs are as staid as the i4. Just take the pipsqueak i3 that’s been available for years, or the new iX SUV. Between those and the new sedan, BMW is showing it does have range (pun intended) in EV design, but it’s not going to eschew its heritage so quickly for a sci-fi look could be dated by 2030.
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