The German brand has enlisted one of the biggest names in Hollywood to enhance the driving experience of its latest weapon.
For decades, BMW has created some of the most seductive and dynamic four doors on the planet.
Now, as the automotive world moves towards electrification, it is reimagining the formula.
The new i4, BMW’s latest EV, shares its body and foundation with the 4 Series Gran Coupe, which itself is derived from the popular 3 Series sedan.
With 250kW and 430Nm in the entry level eDrive 40, the i4 is one of the most powerful single-engine electric vehicles on the market.
Press the accelerator and there is a steady but energetic wave. Sprinting at 100km / h is said to take 5.7 seconds, but the near-instant initial response and enthusiasm for low speeds give it an eye-catching character.
There’s even a hint of Hollywood when you hit the accelerator, as the BMW has a synthesized engine sound created by Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer. Auditory intensity increases in the M50, the first electric BMW to carry the famous M badge. There is also a whiff of the classic BMW six-cylinder snarl in its gruffness.
The M50 also pulls much harder thanks to the inclusion of an additional motor to drive the front wheels. That engine brings maximum power to 400kW and 795Nm, more than BMW’s legendary M3 / M4. The run at 100 km / h is dispatched in 3.9 seconds.
But the emphasis with the M-tuned electric newcomer is more everyday touring rather than piste talent. It’s smooth and fast around town and fun and exciting on a meandering piece of bitumen. When cornering, there’s plenty of grip from the standard 19-inch or optional 20-inch tires, while the floor-lining batteries create a low center of gravity for added cornering stability.
It is an agile and competent four-door that aims sharply. The eDrive 40 has a respectable comfortable ride considering its athletic focus. The M50 has firmer suspension tuning in keeping with its hardened dynamic edge. In its most aggressive driving mode, adaptive shock absorbers make things more bumpy.
The M50’s claimed range between charges is 465km, down from the 520km of its younger sibling eDrive 40 due to the additional performance and weight. When it comes time to charge, the i4 can accept up to 200kW of fast DC charging, enough to boost the 81kWh of usable battery capacity by 10 to 80% in just 31 minutes.
BMW also includes a five-year subscription to the Chargefox public charging network to enable free top-ups.
Part of a long list of equipment that for the $ 110,000 eDrive 40 drive-away includes 19-inch alloys, head-up display, digital instrument cluster, electrically operated front seats, smart key entry, wireless phone charging and ambient lighting.
In addition to extra traction performance and all-wheel drive, the approximately $ 135,000 M50 adds metallic colors, laser headlights, sunroof, heating for the front seats, a rear spoiler and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. there are various M design touches, including seat belts in the sub-brand colors.
Unlike BMW’s early electric vehicle efforts – especially the quirky i3 – there is a normality to the i4 and its controls, layout and detailing.
There is a completely familiar flavor to the interior, from the finishes and materials to the controls and displays. It slides into the lowered front seats and hugs each other well, the main controls are angled towards the driver.
Space and fit are good, although those in the back aren’t quite as well satisfied with knee room. Unlike electric vehicles built on dedicated architectures, the i4 maintains a hump in the center of the floor, meaning it’s better for four rather than five.
Another drawback is BMW’s sub-par three-year warranty. While it lacks some of the benefits of starting with a clean sheet of paper, the i4 builds solid BMW credibility elsewhere and is a surefire entry into electric vehicle life in a category close to the brand’s core.
Engaging rear-wheel drive four-door electric vehicle that exudes BMW character.
BMW i4 eDRIVE 40 VITAL
PRICE From $ 110,000 by car
WARRANTY / SERVICE 3 years / unlimited km
SAFETY 6 airbags, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping and blind spot assistance, front and rear cross traffic warning
MOTOR Single electric motor, 250kW / 430Nm
ALIGN 465-520 km
SAVE Repair kit
LUGGAGE 470 liters
Originally published as 2022 BMW i4 eDrive 40 review