BMW is typically known for having a lineup of vehicles that try to be the “Ultimate Driving Machine” for consumers. But did you know that the company is also trying to create the Ultimate Green Machine? While the BMW i8 and the i3 were glimpses into the novel engineering techniques that the company was capable of in this segment, they were crude, and the pair were sales flops to boot. This time though, BMW is taking a more dedicated approach to creating an electric vehicle and recently unveiled a small glimpse of the future with the 2022 BMW i4 and the 2022 BMW iX at a recent presentation in Detroit.
2022 BMW i4 eDrive40
When you first look at the 2022 BMW i4, you’ll discover that it strongly resembles a gasoline-powered 4-Series sedan. That was no accident, with BMW reps claiming that the styling here was supposed to help convey a sense of familiarity while also adding a slice of futurism to the car. The front fascia still has the oversized twin-kidney grilles that have made their appearances on other BMW models. Still, the i4’s grille is not traditional and is instead a large panel to help improve aerodynamics.
The model that BMW had on hand was the eDrive40 model, which is powered by a single electric motor mounted in the rear for better weight distribution. This model makes 335 hp and can launch the i4 to 60 mph in the five-second range. Buyers looking for more performance will have to opt for the M50 model, which adds an electric motor at the front of the car to raise horsepower to 536 hp and shrinks the sprint to 60 mph to 4.1 seconds. The interior is also largely carried over from the 4-Series, but iDrive 8 helps reduce button count and allows the cabin to look more modern. Splashes of blue contrast trim help cement its “i” heritage and add some welcome contrast when paired with darker interior hues.
Pricing will begin at $65,900 for the base M50, while the standard i4 starts at $55,400. That allows the i4 to be firmly slotted against some of the growing EV competition, including the Tesla Model 3. We think that BMW is certainly on to something with the i4, especially buyers who might want a green vehicle but don’t want to draw too much attention to themselves with wild sci-fi styling.
2022 BMW iX Debuts “Shy Tech”
While the BMW i4 is pretty much a 4-Series that has been tweaked and modified to accommodate electrification technology, the iX is a much more radical exercise in engineering. Starting at $83,200 for the iX xDrive 50, this flagship green machine goes to unheard-of extremes to try and minimize its impact on the environment. Reclaimed wood accents are splashed through the interior, and some of the controls themselves are haptic-based and are actually integrated into the wood trim. The headliner and carpets are made from reclaimed fishing nets. At the same time, the quilted leather seats use a special material that mimics the feel of real leather but actually is made out of reusable materials.
A big thing here on the iX is what BMW calls “shy tech.” While we were admittedly puzzled by the name, BMW claims that “shy tech” focuses on some of the hidden features that consumers might overlook at first when they look around the iX. For example, the roundels (BMW’s logos) hide their fair share of features, with the rear one concealing a flippable rearview camera. The front one actually hides the neck for the windshield washer reservoir and is perhaps the first time we have seen the windshield washer fluid tank being configured in this particular fashion.
The front grille on the iX is no longer a “grille” according to BMW and has instead been repurposed to serve as the “intelligence panel.” The intelligence part of the name comes from all of the sensors and other technology hidden behind the panel. This panel is also coated with a light layer of polyurethane coating that can actually seep into small scratches and “heal” them. However, the biggest coup here is aerodynamics, with the iX actually being more aerodynamically efficient than the axed i8 hybrid coupe. That’s even more impressive when you consider that the iX is roughly the same size as a BMW X5 and has a boxier shape.
When Will The iX and i4 Make Their Way To Dealerships?
Both the BMW i4 and iX are slated to make their way to dealerships in March of 2022. The duo will be part of a broader plan, with BMW claiming that it plans to have at least 50% of global vehicle sales coming from electrified vehicles by 2030. BMW wisely did not reveal a specific date when it expects electric vehicles to replace its ICE-powered offerings. Still, we suspect that it will gradually transfer to avoid doing too much too fast.
BMW is also proud of some of the things it has done to ensure that it gets the highest quality materials for its green models. The lithium and cobalt for the batteries, for example, are sourced from reputable sources, while the battery cell makers are required to use 100% renewable energy to produce the batteries.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.