New BMW i4 spied: facelifted EV to sport design and tech upgrades

BMW’s 4-series-based electric saloon will be refreshed next year with styling tweaks and revised in-car tech

As the current 4-series approaches its fourth year in production, BMW is preparing a mid-life facelift for its Mercedes CLE-rivalling coupe, which will encompass everything from the base petrol model, the high-performance M4 and the model pictured here: the all-electric Gran Coupe-based i4. Spotted testing on public roads in Munich, a host of design updates are planned for the four-door EV, with changes to its infotainment suite expected inside. 

The front end design of this test car looks very similar to the current i4 in M Sport spec, with a pair of enormous kidney grilles flanked by closed-off outer vents. As before, the lower sections of the kidney grilles will be opened up for cooling, with an integrated radar sensor to feed the i4’s onboard driver assistance tech. 

Peering through the camouflage, the facelift appears to include a new set of headlights that mimic the design of the latest 3-series, incorporating the same blue internal accents and adaptive LED technology. The rest of the exterior – including the 18-inch alloys fitted to this prototype – is largely the same, but expect further revisions to the rear lights and bumper once the covers come off. 

Inside, the current model’s 3-series derived cabin layout and curved dual-screen infotainment setup will remain, albeit running BMW’s forthcoming iDrive 9 infotainment suite. Based on Android software, the new setup will streamline major controls to make them easier to access while driving, eliminating some of the sub-menus that can make navigating through iDrive 8 fiddly at times.

The i4 is already one of the most accomplished EVs to drive in its class, and BMW is unlikely to apply any radical changes to its chassis and suspension calibration (although BMW could offer the carbonfibre roof option that recently became available with higher end 3-series and 4-series models to trim weight). Other dynamic advancements are likely to be software derived, through the precise control of torque delivery enabled by the i4’s electric powertrain. 

Speaking of which, the updates could bring minor performance and efficiency improvements across the board, with the current lineup – comprising the i4 eDrive35, eDrive40 and high performance M50 – expected to be carried over. For reference, the flagship i4 M50 generates 537bhp from a dual electric motor setup, and sprints from 0-62mph in 3.9sec. We’re unlikely to see an all-electric M4 before the next generation arrives in at least four years time.

We will, however, see BMW squeeze more out of the current ICE 4-series platform with the arrival of an M4 CS next year, drawing from similar mechanical upgrades adopted by the M3 CS.

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