Electric vehicles are the future, this is a fact, and BMW is doing well to adapt their range of cars to this form of powertrain. The Bavarian company has been well known for producing high performance engines, one such engine being the gargantuan V12, which has been used in the M760Li, however, both, the V12 and the M760Li have reached the end of the timeline, and will not see the light beyond 2020.
The new 7 Series will have a range topping electric variant, which will not only be the most plush variant, but will also be the most powerful as well. Very similarly, in the upcoming 4 Series, the range topping variant will be the i4, in terms of numbers.
Autocar says that the i4 will utilise 2 electric motors, one in the front and one in the rear (thereby providing it with all wheel drive) which should produce a total of 523 horsepower and 600 pound foot of torque. This does raise the question, how much more powerful is the i4 than the new M4?
Well, it is believed that the M4 would churn up about 502 PS, making it weaker by just 21 PS. The real difference between the two is not defined by the horsepower but actually by the contrast of torque, which is quite a bit. The electric i4 has a torque of 600 NM, and the gasoline powered M4 Competition Spec makes do with 442 NM.
442 NM of torque by no means is less, it is just that everyone (me included) grew up believing that the ‘M’ variant was the high performance variant, and to see the i4 beat it in all respects, it comes across as a surprise. A pleasant surprise nonetheless. Another influential difference is about the timing of torque being initiated, which in the i4 would be almost immediate.
The M4 on the other hand, due to its gasoline powered nature, would feel the torque kicking in post 2600 rpm, and quite frankly, this is one of the reasons why electric vehicles will be superior to fossil fuel based vehicles when it comes to acceleration. This is also representative of the fact that electric variants have not only found their place in the Auto Industry, but now they are also actively displacing the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) powered vehicles.
The previous electric models of BMW have been built on their own bespoke platform, the i4 on the other hand will be using the same CLAR (Cluster Architecture) as regular 4 Series. This not only makes production easier, but this is a cost effective method as well. To have a different bespoke platform for each model is an expensive affair, so by doing so, BMW will surely save themselves some money.
The 4 Series and its many variants are expected to be released by this year itself, and the electric form of the 4 Series will arrive by 2021. BMW quite rapidly, wants to infuse the electric line up into their range of cars and this can be proven by the fact that they intend to launch 25 PHEVs (plug in hybrid vehicle) and EVs by the end of 2023.
Amongst all the gasoline powered automakers, BMW seems to be far ahead in evolving their range of cars, and this will surely give them an edge over them in the coming time. Before I sign off, I would want to say, even though the i4 seems to beat the M4 in numbers, only a track based performance will give us a better answer of who is truly faster. I for one cannot wait for this battle, for it will be a race between the past and future.