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In-depth reviews

BMW i4 review: performance, motor & drive

Even the entry-level i4 is quick, but the range-topping M50 boasts supersaloon-like performance; both handle superbly in the best BMW tradition

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

5.0 out of 5

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
eDrive356.0s118mphRear282bhp
eDrive405.7s118mphRear335bhp
M503.9s140mphFour537bhp

The BMW 3 Series and its sleeker 4 Series sibling have long been masters of switching hats from being a comfortable motorway cruiser, to a dynamic B-road bruiser. The BMW i4 continues this trend into the electric age, boasting a low centre of gravity, sharp and responsive steering and a trio of increasingly powerful motor setups.

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The key to unlocking the i4’s multiple varying personalities is the drive mode selector on the centre console; accompanied by a vivid abstract graphic on the infotainment screen, each drive mode adjusts the i4’s setup to suit a particular driving style. Eco Pro, for example, softens the throttle response and limits power output to maximise range from the i4’s battery. Sport, on the other hand, lends itself to more athletic drives, with sharp throttle response, heavier steering and maximum power. ‘Comfort’ lies somewhere between the two, with the adaptive suspension on M Sport cars also adjusting in respect to which drive mode you’re in.

BMW i4 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

The 0-62mph sprint takes just 3.9 seconds in the M50. But the eDrive40 and eDrive35 are still brisk – managing in the same sprint in 5.7 seconds and 6.0 seconds respectively. Putting your foot down in the M50 in particular catapults you forward without hesitation. In fact, you’ll need to make sure you have a firm grip on the steering wheel when you deploy all 537bhp, as it writhes in your hands, thanks in part to the 430Nm of torque being sent through the wheels.

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In the wet, a good deal of patience with the throttle is required, as the potent powertrain can make the M50 a bit of a handful. The car uses its brakes to control wheelspin, but can become unsettled when coming out of tight corners searching for traction. Things are a bit more sedate in the eDrive40, but its 335bhp output is still more than enough for any everyday driving situation. We haven’t driven the base eDrive35 just yet, but expect it’ll be much the same – even the least-powerful of EVs tend to feel pretty brisk due to how they deliver all of their power instantaneously.

Handling

The BMW i4 is one of the best EVs for keen drivers currently on sale, at any price, full stop. Behind the wheel, a low driving position makes the i4 feel hunkered-down, while a low centre of gravity gives it an athletic feel, despite weighing over two tonnes. Both the standard and ‘M’ models change direction well and feature precise, confidence-inspiring steering. The steering does feel slightly detached from the wheels, but it's nonetheless easy to place the i4 on the road, and things weight up nicely when the car is placed into either Sport or Sport Plus driving modes.

When you’re not driving with such purpose, refinement in the i4 is excellent. Wind and tyre noise are kept at bay, making the electric saloon a pleasant motorway cruiser. Performance remains strong at higher speeds, which is perfect for overtaking, while the adaptive suspension in M Sport cars means all but the worst of bumps are soaked up.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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