Even if manual-transmission M3s and stupidly powerful V8s remain in the cards for now, BMW, like just about all automakers these days, is in the process of going electric. The challenge with that transition for BMW: carrying over the "ultimate driving machine" ethos that's long defined the brand.
BMW has already unveiled the iX electric crossover and its distinctive grille. That, we expect, should sell well. But it's the upcoming i4 sedan that will be the harbinger of BMW's all-electric performance future.
We saw it in concept form earlier this year; now, BMW has released video of a very-close-to-production version i4 on the test track showing off some of its driving dynamics.
As you can see above, the i4 will be able to drift. BMW says it will be "effortlessly controllable" and have a specially tuned damper system that will make it "largely insusceptible to any disruption caused by road bumps," which would certainly be a difference from some tightly wound BMW models we've driven.
The BMW i4's power output should top out around 530 horsepower, which is more than the BMW M3 Competition. A 0-60 mph dash of four seconds would put it about a tick slower than the last-gen M3, though that figure may be conservative.
Visually, the i4 shares a lot with the combustion 3 Series and 4 Series. The faux grille on the test vehicle looks more like those models than the concept, thanksfully, which had a massive kidney.
BMW should unveil the i4 later this calendar year, with the car arriving at dealers sometime in 2022.