With the BMW i3 closing the order books in the U.S., and soon to be finished in Europe, we want to say BMW did a fantastic job bringing the i3 to market all those years ago. But then, BMW kind of got stuck in a rut and made little development. But times have changed and BMW has gone on the offensive and the i4 might well be one of their main weapons!
Design & Styling
Let’s start by having a look at the BMW i4 exterior, and straight away address the elephant in the room…yes, that big kidney grille that BMW have so fallen in love with. It’s still present on the all-electric i4 but now it’s closed off and given a sheen.
Around the side, you’d barely know you’re looking at the all-electric version. It’s got a silhouette that’s very recognizable as a BMW 4-series.
At the back, it’s still all very BMW with the shaping of the lights. Black trim at the lower end seems to lift the rear of the car, and there’s some more of the blue flashing around what looks like 4 placeholders for exhaust pipes…but we all know there’s none of those on our EVs!
The interior is as plush as you expect from a BMW.
Well, it’s a good looking car, isn’t it? Although that kidney grille is still likely to divide opinion. But let’s talk dimensions for a minute. Is this a big car? Well, yes and no. It’s not big in the sense that it’s not a bulky SUV, but it’s still a sizeable car, it’s nearly 5 metres long.
The interior of the i4 will have plenty of space for most uses. Let’s face it, nobody is buying this car just for the school run and to put the dogs in the back. It’s a drivers car, and it’s made for that. There’ll be enough room for 4 adults comfortably, and you could squish another one in the middle at the back.
The overall footprint of the car is big enough with a wheelbase of 2.86m and an overall length of just under 5 metres.
So what about Performance?
Well, we’ve got 2 answers for you here as there are two options available.
Let’s look at the more modest of two first. The eDrive 40 has a 250kW Rear Wheel Drive motor putting out 340hp and 430Nm torque. The 0-100 km/h is dispatched within 5.7s. So that’s not exactly lightning quick, but it’s still a very fast car, compared to its combustion counterparts.
The M50 has All Wheel Drive thanks to having two separate motors, with the rear-mounted one being slightly more powerful. It has combined motors of 400kW that churn out a hugely impressive 544hp and 795Nm torque. When you take it down the drag strip, it’ll get you from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds. So the M50 is a very fast machine. Now, calm down Tesla fanboys…yes the Model 3 Performance will beat those figures, but come on, this is still a very fast car.
Battery, Range, Charging
Now let’s talk batteries, range and charging, all the details that us EV nerds love!
The i4 has a battery with a gross capacity 83.9kWh and a usable 80.7kWh. So how far can you travel on that? The range for the two models is 510km WLTP for the high-performance M50 and a quite impressive 590km for the more modest model.
As for charging, BMW has been very vague but we’ve done our best to extrapolate what the car can do. On AC, the i4 will take up to 11kW, which is quite decent. But it’s worth noting that most homes will have a charger supplying about 7kW, which would take the i4 nearly 12 hours to fully charge from empty.
On DC, the i4 looks to be quite well equipped. Now, it’s not the world’s fastest, but it will take up to 200kW. So a 20-minute toilet and coffee break will be enough to get you topped up and back on your motorway trip.
Something that will damage your range is towing. Yes, the i4 has an option to include an extendable and retractable tow hitch. It’s rated for up to 1600kg.
As we’re an international channel we don’t want to get too specific on pricing. You know how it is…currency conversions, different tax rates and incentives between countries. But just to give you a bit of context, the BMW i4 M50, the tasty top-spec one will be starting, where I’m from in the UK, at about £64k. Compare that to the Tesla Model 3 which starts from about £60k
So there you have the BMW i4, with its two different versions. It’s good to see a manufacturer offering something other than a bulky SUV. The i4 will be a luxurious and sporty coupe that will hopefully tempt many buyers away from combustion counterparts. Only time, and the sales figures, will tell if BMW has a real winner on its hands here.
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