BMW wants to see how the components cope in extreme temperatures.
BMW will present the Concept i4 next week (online, following the Geneva Motor Show cancelation) previewing a new electric sedan that will have the Tesla Model 3 in its sights when it enters production next year. This will be one of several new EVs joining BMW's electric i range, as the BMW iX3 will also launch later this year as an electric version of the X3 crossover. Next year, the BMW iNext flagship SUV will also enter production after being previewed by the concept back in 2018, which featured a giant grille similar to the one we've been seeing on the next-generation BMW 4 Series.
We last saw the iNext enduring cold-weather testing in Arjeplog, Sweden, last year, but testing has now moved to the Kalahari desert in South Africa where prototypes are being pushed to their limits in intense heat.
As well as seeing how the iNext's components cope in these extreme conditions, BMW is also evaluating how the electric SUV handles challenging off-road terrain on sand, pebble and gravel tracks. These tests allow BMW to evaluate the durability and reliability of the drive and suspension components, as well as the bodywork, interior, driver assists, and digital tech. BMW can also assess how the temperatures affect the cooling systems for the high-voltage battery, the electric motor, and air conditioning.
During extensive heat tests, the iNext is exposed to the heat of the sun for hours and later cooled down to see how the electrical systems and interior materials are affected in the harsh conditions. BMW has also made sure that no dust enters the cabin, even after the iNext was driven for thousands of miles across unpaved roads and sandy dunes.
In the future, BMW will be putting the iNext through its paces at the company's proving ground at Miramas in Southern France, the Nurburgring Nordschleife, and other racetracks to ensure the flagship SUV lives up to expectations. Production of the BMW iNext will take place at BMW's Dingolfing plant in Germany in 2021.