BMW i4 review

The BMW i4 will make you want to move to electric power.

Pros: style, performance, efficiency, driving experience

Cons: compact interior, high price

The BMW i4 is an all-electric version of the new 4 Series Gran Coupe, set to arrive on Irish shores in 2022. It mixes elements of the controversial iX SUV with the familiar environs of the current 4 Series range to create an incredibly fast and polished executive car with a distinctly sporting flavour. Our first drive in the i4 is at the wheel of the range-topping M50 model.

BMW i4 Design

The i4 shares its distinctive upright grille and other detailing with the rest of the BMW 4 Series line-up. That grille is blanked off and restyled for the electric model, while the i4 also debuts new flush-mounted door handles. At the rear, obviously there are no exhaust outlets, while there is less of a need for air inlets at the front, meaning a smoother overall appearance.

Nonetheless, the M50 version gets a more aggressive design, with extra air inlets, bigger wheels, unique door mirrors and a subtle rear spoiler. It really looks the part.

BMW i4 Interior

Up front, the i4 differs from the 4 Series Gran Coupe in that it gets BMW’s swanky new curved instrument display. This features the digital instruments and central touchscreen behind a single piece of curved glass, and it looks lovely. The graphics are crisp and contemporary and response to input is snappy. Supplementing the touch interface is a good voice-control system, while there’s the usual iDrive rotary controller between the front seats, too.

There, the i4 looks just like any other 4 Series, with a few blue accents to remind you you’re in the i4. It feels of high quality, while the low-set sports seats and frameless door glass link the car to the rest of the range.

Access to the back seats is slightly restricted by the narrow door openings, but most adults will get comfortable in the outer two positions. The middle seat is clearly only for occasional use. Meanwhile, the rear seat backs split and fold down to allow carrying of larger items. Before you do that, the boot volume measures in at a useful 470 litres.

BMW i4 Performance & Drive

The i4 M50 gets a powerful electric motor on each axle, totalling 544hp and 795Nm of torque when they’re both putting out their maximums. Though the i4’s battery pack and motors make it a relatively heavy car, it’s still exceedingly fast, covering the benchmark 0-100km/h sprint in a BMW M3-rivalling 3.9 seconds. Built-in launch control and the traction of four-wheel drive make such things incredibly easy.

Leave the i4 M50 in its default mode, and drive it a little more gently, and it’s also perfectly comfortable and quiet. Adaptive damping allows the driver to optimise the suspension for body control or comfort and, while this car can be huge fun to drive, it also makes for a good long-distance companion.

Thankfully, the electric powertrain enables this. There’s an 80.7kWh (net) battery pack under the floor, allowing an official range of up to 521 kilometres. As ever, motorway speeds reduce the range, but even so, it should easily cover 350km between charge-ups at such pace – and it can be recharged at up to 205kW if you avail of high-powered DC rapid chargers.

BMW i4 Pricing

The base model, called the eDrive40 Sport, starts at €63,560. It has just one electric motor, to make a rear-wheel-drive car, though still has 340hp. Officially, it will cover up to 589km on a charge, depending on specification. Buyers can upgrade it to M Sport specification for €65,404, and the i4 M50 is priced at €78,310.

Carzone Verdict: 4.5/5

While the i4 is more expensive than the entry-level versions of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, it’s better value than petrol and diesel options further up the range, which means it could well be the car that convinces BMW fans to go fully electric.

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