The hottest BMW EV has been snapped in Europe’s cold winter.
The i4 M will be a faster version of a mainstream model without a track focus, in a similar vein to the M340i xDrive.
“Next year we will launch the first battery-electric M car in the performance segment, based on an i4,” Markus Flasch, BMW M boss, told Australian media.
Although it’s heavily disguised, the i4 M’s extra potential is given away by the fact it’s wearing blue brake calipers and tacked-on fenders extensions at the rear.
Otherwise it shares plenty with previous i4 mules we’ve spied, which is to say it has a four-door coupe shape, slim headlights, and flush-fitting door handles.
When it revealed the i4 Concept in March, BMW said the fastest model would hit 100km/h in just four seconds, on its way to a 200km/h top speed. Claimed range is 600km on the tougher WLTP test cycle.
With 390kW from its electric motor, the i4 Concept packs more power than the M3 Competition. But whether that will be the setup used in the M Performance production car isn’t clear.
BMW last year revealed the Power BEV concept, a 5 Series with a 530kW tri-motor powertrain capable of propelling it to 100km/h in “well under” three seconds. It could also point to what we can expect from the high-performance i4.
Although it’s developing M Performance electric vehicles, BMW isn’t ready to do a proper M EV just yet.
“The technology that we’re looking at on the high-performance side will take some more years to come. You can imagine weight will play a significant role in it,” said Markus Flasch.
“Of course, driving dynamically – chassis controlling, powertrain controlling – there are opportunities within electrified powertrains, very much within the control systems.
“This is something that needs further development. If you imagine, today we have an engine and a friction-based brake. If you think about using an electric engine for both directions, and what you can do with multiple engines, then you probably know where we are going.”