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BMW i4 Prepares To Battle Tesla Model 3

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This is our very first look at BMW’s upcoming Model 3 fighter before its debut in 2021.

We've known for some time now that BMW is planning an EV onslaught, with the introduction of 12 new electric models by 2025 including the iNext and iX3. Thanks to our spy photographers, we can present to you the very first photos of the BMW i4 electric sedan, as the Bavarian automaker prepares to battle the Tesla Model 3.

The camouflaged prototype i4 was spotted loaded on a truck, and the first thing you'll notice is that it doesn't adopt a futuristic design like the i8 and i3. Instead, it looks like an electric version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, rather than a four-door version of the i8. This isn't surprising, however, as BMW has previously said its future electric cars will adopt more conventional designs to appeal to the masses. The 4 Series Gran Coupe's four-door coupe bodystyle has proven to be very popular, so the i4 could be a very serious threat to Tesla.

That said, there are some styling differences between the i4 and 4 Series Gran Coupe such as bespoke front and rear fascias. The front will incorporate BMW's new kidney grille specific to i models, as seen on recent BMW i concept cars, and the prototype also appears to have different door handles. The ride also looks slightly higher than the 4 Series Gran Coupe to allow for the batteries to be placed closer to the vertical position of the car's axles.

The BMW i4 will ride on the company's CLAR architecture designed to accommodate gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and pure-electric powertrains, which underpins all BMW models form the 3 Series and above. As a result, the i4 could launch as part of BMW's 4 Series range.

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Rear-wheel and all-wheel drive versions of the BMW i4 will be available. In the base version, an electric motor will be mounted on the front driving the rear wheels through a fixed ratio transmission, whereas the range-topping model will use two electric motors, with one on each axle. BMW's is targeting the i4 to offer a driving range of up to 435 miles and class-leading 0-62 mph times. The BMW i4 is expected to debut in 2021, most likely at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

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