BMW i4 review
The electric equivalent to the BMW 3 Series offers refinement and comfort, along with exceptional build quality and infotainment; the M50 packs a punch worthy of its badge
- Slick infotainment
- Competitive range
- M50 model’s performance
- Expensive compared to rivals
- All-wheel drive only on top-spec model
- M50 not the most engaging BMW M car
|Model||Range||Wallbox charging time||Rapid charge time|
|eDrive35||299 miles||10hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||32mins (10-80%, 180kW)|
|eDrive40||365 miles||13hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)||31mins (10-80%, 205kW)|
|M50||318 miles||13hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)||31mins (10-80%, 205kW)|
BMW i4 verdict
The BMW i4’s superb refinement and build quality, excellent infotainment setup and rapid-charging speeds, make the first electric saloon from the German carmaker a compelling package that has the potential to tempt a good many people away from a Tesla, Polestar or Hyundai. Outright practicality is not the i4’s strong suit, but rather than being a load-lugger, this is a driver’s car above all else. In fact, the BMW i4 is without question one of the best-handling electric cars we’ve tested.
Range details, specs and alternatives
BMW is launching electric cars at an extraordinary rate, introducing both the i7 luxury limousine and iX1 compact SUV in the past few months alone. But the i4 is still BMW’s most important EV to date, as it's not only a zero-emissions alternative to the brand’s hugely popular 3 Series saloon, but also serves as a direct rival to the Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2 and new Hyundai Ioniq 6.
BMW based the i4 on the combustion-engined 4 Series Gran Coupe, so it doesn’t use a bespoke electric-car platform like the flagship iX. But it has plenty of visual presence and blends in nicely with the rest of the line-up – unlike the iX or i7, which stand out no matter what you park them next to. Inside, the i4 gets BMW’s latest iDrive 8 operating system and a minimalist, high-tech feel – but not to the extreme level Tesla goes to.
In February 2023, BMW introduced a new entry-level model to the i4 line-up in the UK. The eDrive35 uses a 70kWh battery to power a single electric motor on the rear axle producing 282bhp; enough for 0-62mph in exactly six seconds and a range of up to 299 miles. The i4 eDrive35 starts from £49,995 – several thousands more than the base versions of its closest rivals – with first examples due to arrive here in summer 2023.
Next up is the longest-range version of BMW’s electric saloon, the i4 eDrive40. It‘s also rear-drive only, but produces 335bhp and features a slightly larger 81kWh battery to cover up to 365 miles on a single charge. Both the eDrive35 and eDrive40 are available in Sport and M Sport trim, and come as standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, LED lights all round, a 14-inch touchscreen and 12-inch driver’s display, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. M Sport cars get 19-inch rims, adaptive suspension and exterior styling tweaks for a sportier look. Range is reduced slightly in these models.
Finally, there’s the range-topping i40 M50 that’s currently priced at over £71,000. The first electric BMW M performance car uses the same 81kWh battery as the eDrive40, but pairs it with two electric motors for all-wheel drive and gut-wrenching performance from the 537bhp on tap. There’s no shortage of options packs for the i4 range, including the Comfort, Comfort Plus, Visibility, Technology and Technology Plus packages.
For a more detailed look at the BMW i4, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe electric equivalent to the BMW 3 Series offers refinement and comfort, along with exceptional build quality and infotainment; the M50 packs a punch worthy of its badge
- 2Range, battery & chargingClaimed range numbers are promising, but depending on how you drive, the real-world figures aren’t quite as good
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe savings really stack up here, with i4 owners enjoying zero road tax, very low company-car tax, reasonable insurance ratings, strong residuals and affordable servicing
- 4Performance, motor & driveEven the entry-level i4 is quick, but the range-topping M50 boasts supersaloon-like performance; both handle superbly in the best BMW tradition
- 5Interior, dashboard & infotainmentInterior quality and layout are both excellent, but BMW’s formerly class-leading infotainment system is starting to seem overly complex
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityBoot space is very close to that of the petrol 4 Series, but rear-seat passengers might feel the squeeze
- 7Reliability & safety ratingBMW has been building reliable electric cars for some time, but on the safety front the i4 only scored four out of five in Euro NCAP crash-testing