The first 2022 BMW i4 EVs have been delivered to customers in Germany, at the BMW Welt in Munich.
Deliveries of the first examples of the BMW iX will follow in about a week, BMW has indicated.
The Munich-based automaker held an event over the weekend at BMW Welt in its home city, handing over the first examples of the fully electric BMW i4 to new owners, three months earlier than expected. The battery-electric Gran Coupe entered production just a month ago, with the first examples rolling out of a plant nearing the 100-year mark, and that currently produces the BMW 3-Series sedan and Touring models, the BMW M3 and the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe.
Aimed at the Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2, the BMW i4 will make it stateside early next year in two main flavors at launch: the single-motor, rear-wheel-drive i4 eDrive40 will be the entry model, starting at $56,395, while the dual-motor all-wheel-drive i4 M50 will be the sportier performance version with 469 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque on tap, starting at $66,895.
The base model will serve up about 300 miles of range, BMW has indicated, though concrete EPA numbers won't be known until a few weeks before its US launch.
"It is a very special moment for us when we hand over brand new models to customers for the first time," said Bernhard Kuhnt, senior vice president BMW Group Market Germany. "The BMW i4 shows in an emotional way how well fully electric mobility and sporty driving dynamics fit together. For us, it is therefore clear: the BMW i4 will offer our customers a whole new dimension of driving pleasure."
BMW is in slightly uncharted territory here with the i4, and could face an uphill battle against Tesla in its home market where the American sedan has become an unexpected hit, just ahead of the start of production at new Tesla plant outside Berlin. So the first deliveries of the i4 are happening against the kind of backdrop that would have been difficult to imagine even five years ago—German automakers having to catch up to an American import sedan.
The i4 will face an admittedly small cast of competitors at launch, as for now only Tesla and Polestar offer vehicles that could be considered vaguely similar, with BMW's offering landing a bit north of both cars in price even given the recent (of several) price hikes of the Model 3. The Tesla Model 3 currently starts at $46,190 for the base, rear-wheel-drive single-motor version, while the Polestar 2 starts at $47,200 for the long-range, single-motor version.
It will be some time before more midsize premium or luxury electric sedans arrive, as most of the competition has focused on fielding crossovers and SUVs in this particular price range, in addition to luxury sedans priced much higher. This is also the reason why it took so long for competitors to the Model 3 to actually arrive on the market: Automakers saw greener pastures in other segments, and with good cause.
Speaking of those other segments, deliveries of another electric BMW model are not far behind.
"With the BMW i4, we have absolutely struck a chord," Kuhnt added. "You can see this from the very high demand for this car. We are delighted to be expanding our electrified product lineup with this sporty, fully electric Gran Coupé at exactly the right time and to present the first vehicles to our customers today—three months earlier than originally planned. The first delivery of a BMW i4 today, and the first BMW iX in about a week, are further milestones for the BMW Group on the road to electromobility."