BMW i4 range, battery & charging
Claimed range numbers are promising, but depending on how you drive, the real-world figures aren’t quite as good
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|eDrive40||365 miles||13hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)||31mins (10-80%, 205kW)|
|M50||318 miles||13hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)||31mins (10-80%, 205kW)|
A big battery and fast charging speeds always add up to a good score in this section, so it’s not surprising that the i4 is one of the better choices for those prone to range anxiety. It’s not perfect, though; as always, the claimed maximum range is tricky to replicate in the real world, and not every public charging point out there right now can take full advantage of the i4’s fastest possible charging speed of 205kW.
BMW i4 range
Both the eDrive40 and top-of-the-range M50 versions of the i4 use an 81kWh battery, which provides enough power for ranges of 365 and 318 miles respectively. But when the tested an i4 eDrive40 it returned an average of 3.8 miles per kilowatt hour (mi/kWh), which equates to a real-world range of around 307 miles. Both very good figures in our opinion, however we've seen the Tesla Model 3 manage a much more impressive 4.4mi/kWh.
What's more, despite the claimed 318-mile range of the M50, at the start of a test drive, we had 90% charge and an indicated range of just 232 miles. After a 91-mile route on a variety of roads, the battery had depleted to 44% capacity, with 112 miles remaining.
You can recharge the i4 at up to 205kW, if you can find a fast enough rapid charger. If you do, topping up the 81kWh battery from 10-80% will take around 30 minutes; you can add 102 miles of range to the eDrive40 in 10 minutes, or 87 miles to the M50 in the same time. More people are likely to charge at home, though, and the i4 is capable of AC charging at up to 11kW, which will replenish the battery in eight-and-a-half hours. Using a more common 7.4kW home wallbox, it'll take around 13 hours to fully replenish the battery.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe 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 & charging - currently readingClaimed 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 & comfortInterior 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