BMW's Tesla Model 3-fighter takes a different a tack to the earlier i3 and i8 models, which were largely distinct from the rest of the company's range.

The BMW i4 has been spied on the back of the trailer, and it doesn't look too different to how we imagine the next-generation 4 Series Gran Coupe might look.

If the electric iX3 and conventionally-powered X3 are a guide, the key differences between the i4 and 4 Series Gran Coupe may be limited to a different front fascia.

The prototype here seems to have a closed-off, slim set of kidney grilles, but this may be a clever misdirection. It's possible the production car will feature a tall, blue-framed set like the ones used on the X3 and i Vision Dynamics concept.

This vehicle also seems to feature a lift-up door handles. There are a lot of false body panels under the camouflage wrap, so it's possible the i4 and 4 Series Gran Coupe could harbour other differences too.

Unlike the i3 and i8, the i4 will not have its own carbon-fibre-intensive platform. By using the CLAR rear- and all-wheel drive architecture employed by vehicles from the 3 Series to the X7, the i4 will miss out on the packaging benefits of an electric car platform.

On the upside, the i4 can be produced on the same production line as other CLAR vehicles, and volume can easily be scaled up or down depending on demand.

Little is known about the i4's drivetrain, but Robert Irlinger, head of the BMW i division, has previously stated the car will have a range of around 600km.