The BMW i4 – a proper Beemer, but electric

The new electric BMW i4 saloon will suit drivers who don’t want to let petrol power go, says Jasper Spires

BMW began its foray into the electric-vehicle (EV) world nine years ago with the i3 hatchback – “a courageous and radical little car that didn’t quite work”, says Steve Cropley in Autocar. But the new i4 “sits at the other end of the engineering and styling spectrum”. This mid-sized saloon doesn’t take the “I’m-electric-so-I’m-different route”. Instead, it “adopts relatively familiar Gran Sport four-door body styling that looks sleek and sporty, but doesn’t frighten the horses”.

“The i4 is built for those who traditionally shun EVs thinking they are cold and clinical and are looking for more spirited drives,” says Jeremy White on Wired. The steering is “famously precise”, coupled with the kind of performance that means drivers must keep their wits about them. It’s a car for those who have “let petrol power go, but can’t bear to see it leave”. 

“The ‘entry-level’ eDrive40 model, with rear-wheel drive and one electric motor, competes with everything from small premium SUVs… through to the award winning Tesla Model 3,” says WhatCar. It produces 335bhp and goes from zero to 62mph in 5.7 seconds, with an official range of 367 miles. That’s enough for most drivers, “but if you’re the kind of person who finds roller coasters a bit boring”, there’s the “range-topping” M50 with two motors and four-wheel drive. This produces a “whopping 536bhp” – pitching it against the Model 3 Performance and Polestar 2 – races from zero to 62mph in 3.9 seconds, and has a range of 318 miles. 

The M50 is “seriously fast” in its sport boost setting, says TopGear, yet the milder modes make it “easy to dawdle”. It’s a “better steer” than Tesla’s Model 3, has the range for most road trips, and charges fast. “This is a proper BMW.”

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