The all-electric 2021 BMW i4 is shedding the last vestiges of its camouflage as it nears its debut.

We can clearly see the i4’s shape, which will be shared with the upcoming, second-generation 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Production of the i4 is set to begin in November.

While the i4 and 4 Series Gran Coupe will look much the same, we know this is an i4 due to the electric vehicle stickers on the camo plus the absence of exhaust outlets.

We expect exterior differences to be limited to different bumpers, while both will feature grilles the same enormous size as the 4 Series coupe and convertible but with different inserts.

The i4 will also likely feature blue accents as on the BMW iX3.

Notably, details like the tail lights and flush-fitting, lift-up door handles appear to be identical between the i4 and 4 Series Gran Coupe models our photographers have spied testing.

The i4 range will be topped with the i4 M.

With 390kW of power from its dual-motor all-wheel drive system, the i4 M will be 15kW more powerful than the range-topping BMW M3 Competition.

The i4 M will hit 100km/h in just four seconds from standstill, which means the M3 Competition still has bragging rights over its plug-in brother… albeit by only 0.1 seconds.

Claimed range is 600km on the tougher WLTP test cycle.

Under the skin, the i4 M will have a unique suspension tune with active dampers that automatically tense to keep the body in check when the driver accelerates hard.

The i4 M won’t have an overt track focus like the M3 and M4, however, instead offering a comparable level of dynamic ability to the M340i.

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 BMW M boss Markus Flasch.

BMW is following a different electric vehicle strategy than fellow Germans Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

While both initially entered the EV market with vehicles based on internal combustion engine platforms – the Audi E-Tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC – both are expected to roll out a raft of vehicles on dedicated EV platforms.

BMW has announced just one vehicle on a bespoke EV platform, the large iX crossover.

The rest of its EV range will consist of vehicles based on ICE-powered vehicles, including the iX1 and iX3 and electric versions of the 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series sedans.

In contrast, Mercedes will use its Electric Vehicle Architecture for the EQE sedan and SUV and EQS sedan and SUV, while Audi is using the corporate MEB and J1 EV platforms and plans to introduce vehicles on the PPE platform co-developed with Porsche.

William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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