BMW i4 Test Drive: The BMW Spirit Retained, Even When Electric

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BMW i4 Test Drive: The BMW Spirit Retained, Even When Electric

The BMW i4 is the new 100% electric sedan from the Bavarian firm. The i4 is the obvious competitor to the Tesla Model 3 and comes in two distinct versions. For a comfortable driving experience and maximum autonomy, the eDrive40 version should satisfy most customers, while the M50 version will appeal to those who like a more sporty driving experience.

The BMW i4 is the electric version of the 4 Seriesin a way. Aesthetically, a few details betray the i4’s underpinnings, starting with the full double bean grille, the absence of tailpipes, the BMW logos surrounded by a blue border and the almost solid rims to improve aerodynamics. In terms of dimensions, the BMW i4 is almost a copy/paste of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, with a length of 4.78 metres, a width of 1.85 metres and a height of 1.44 metres.

BMW i4 edrive40

On board, the dashboard is similar to that of a 3 Series, despite the presence of this new dual curved panel, with a 12.3-inch screen under the driver’s eyes and a 14.9-inch touchscreen. The screen is responsive, suffers no latency and the graphics are quite polished.

The materials are of very good quality, the adjustments are impeccable and the finishing touches are at the level of the latest BMW productions. We appreciate the low seat height, which is rare enough for an electric car, and the driving position is ideal.

In the back, two adults will be properly seated, while the German firm announces a trunk with a capacity of 470 litres, as much as the 4 Series Gran Coupe. There’s even room for the charging cable.

BMW i4 edrive40

Our test version of the eDrive 40 is available with rear-wheel drive and a single 340 hp electric motor. With a 0 to 100 km/h time of 5.7 seconds and a weight that is about 175 kilos less than the powerful i4 M50 (2050 kilos unladen for the eDrive40 versus 2215 kilos for the M50), it is more fun to drive.

The announced range is between 493 and 590 kilometres in the WLTP combined cycle. The i4 eDrive40 and M50 share the same 80.7 kWh battery. Charging times are identical between the two versions: 31 minutes from 10 to 80 per cent on a 205 kW DC fast terminal, 73 minutes on a 50 kW terminal, 8.15 hours on an 11 kW public terminal, 13 hours on a 7.4 kW Wallbox and more than 40 hours on a standard household socket.

With a claimed 340 horsepower, the two-plus tons of power in our test model is erased with a simple touch of the right pedal, with a kick in the butt that is always quite impressive. The six-cylinder noise is missing, but BMW has found a solution with its “Iconic Sounds” technology created by film music composer Hans Zimmer.

BMW i4 edrive40

The i4 is indeed a BMW, despite its underside. Its efficiency is quite stunning with a nice agility despite its weight. In terms of comfort, the i4 oscillates between the good and the not so good, with a correct general comfort, without more, and a rather dry suspension in compression, in particular on the speed bumps, very (too?) numerous in France.

When decelerating, the BMW i4 offers four levels of energy recovery: low, medium, high and adaptive, modulating the regeneration according to the environment. We would have liked paddles behind the steering wheel to modulate the intensity of regenerative braking. Nevertheless, the management is excellent and will bring you to a stop.

In terms of price, the BMW i4 eDrive40 starts at 59,950 euros. Compared to its main competitor, the Tesla Model 3, the BMW i4 has serious advantages, mastered technology and, above all, the spirit of a BMW, a spirit that you feel behind the wheel.

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