BMW has announced the launch of its first all-electric sedan, bearing the name ‘i4’. This beauty has just hit the South African market. Oh, and it’s launching with a price tag of R1.6 million. Surely this one will come with heated seats that don’t cost R250 p/m, right? Right?
The BMW i4 is the German company’s first fully-fledged outing into the world of electric vehicles. South Africa will only get to see one model at launch, the i4 M50 Performance Model. Something about the words ‘Performance Model’ ignites fear in the chest, but that’s just us thinking of the price. SA’s model features an electric motor in the front, with a second at the back. Its two motors deliver an output of 400kW and offer a range of 510 kilometres per charge.
Indicators come standard
The i4 is fast. Really fast. It’s not hitting Tesla Roadster levels quite yet, but it’s not far off. If you ever find yourself needing an extra gear to beat the car next to you at a race, then you’ll like Sports Boost mode. To achieve Sport Boost, you put your foot down for 10 seconds. The BMW i4 takes this as a sign that you’re for some real speed. With Sport Boost, the i4 manages 0–100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. Impressive.
But how often is someone going to need Sports Boost, really? Okay, fairly often. Even so, we’re more interested in what makes this thing worth R1.6 million. BMW has a few ideas.
“An integrated heating and cooling system for the interior, the high-voltage battery and the drive system – which operates using an exceptionally efficient heat pump function – comes as standard in the BMW i4. Anticipatory thermal management allows the operating temperature of the high-voltage battery to be optimised ahead of a stop at a fast-charging station, paving the way for rapid and efficient charging,” the company said.
Additionally, the i4’s Combined Charging Unit (CCU) can be quite flexible when it comes to charging, BMW added. DC charging is also possible at up to 200kW.
BMW says that it is possible to gain as many as 140 kilometres in just 10 minutes, from a 10% charge level. Of course, you need a high-power charging station to reach those numbers. Still, it’s nice to know that you won’t be stranded for hours at a time. BMW added that i4 models in South Africa come “…complete with the BMW Charging Card, Flexible Fast Charger that allows charging at up to 11kW and a mode two charging cable.”
Comfort Level 9000 (for R250/m)
On the inside, i4 drivers are treated to the latest generation of iDrive – BMW’s control panel. We’re not sure exactly what is different on that front, but we expect it’ll be faster and easier to use.
A few other bonuses include cloud-based BMW Maps, 5G connectivity, and seat/steering wheel heating. And perhaps best of all, a three-zone automatic climate control system.
But wait, there’s more! Some of these features are standard while some are available as DLC… um… optional extras. You can pick and choose from 40 additional extras, like; cruise control with automatic speed limit assist, route monitoring, and steering and lane control assist.
It all comes down to whether or not YOU think the i4 is worth R1.6 million. Most drivers in South Africa can’t afford cars like this, and BMW knows it. BMW is targeting South Africa’s wealthy. The company will easily find a market for the luxury EV. We just wish it was a little more… democratic if you know what we mean.