Base price in Canada for the 2022 BMW i4 is $54,990 in Canada and $55,400 in the US.
Three versions will be offered in 2023: the eDrive35, eDrive40, and the M50.
The i4 M50 xDrive makes me think the i4 M will require a fighter pilot’s license to drive.
The EV race is a fascinating one. Watching it reveals that, right now, the German and Korean automakers are way ahead in the standings albeit still trailing behind Tesla. All car companies are taking slightly different roads when it comes to electrifying their products and right now, as I write these lines, I think BMW’s on the right path.
That path involves two things where design is concerned. One, and this is my favorite aspect, they are evolving existing designs as with the i4. And two, they are creating a new language as found on the iX.
It looks normal
The fact is that the new BMW i4 replaces, in Canada and physically at least, the 4 Series Gran Coupé (GC). In a side-by-side comparison, the i4 is a hair taller, 2/10th of an inch to be precise, but otherwise, they cast the exact same shadow. The i4’s rocker panels look chonkier perhaps to camouflage the sides of the batteries. Otherwise, the wheels and badges are the only real dead giveaways.
The M50 sports an aerodynamic kit which is, along with badging once again, the defining difference with the eDrive40. The i4’s a looker if not already quite common as the 4 Series GC is everywhere. The still-controversial oversized kidney grille is a “take it or leave it” thing and I’ve moved over to the latter group. In my opinion, the fact that the i4 blends into the automotive background despite being a “special” all-electric vehicle is magnificent.
And the “normal” factor carries forth inside the car. Now, however, this is a BMW so the norm is quite a way above what could be considered average. As standard with all i4s (for 2022 – this may be different for the 35) is a one-piece twin curved display that consists in a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment display. I will poke BMW here and note that the Kia EV6 has a very similar 2x 12.3-inch curved display…
Moving along, another “normal” thing is the presence of an actual shifter (thank you), a series of drive mode buttons, but most other functions are worked via the touchscreen or the iDrive system. Learning the location of the shortcuts, both digital and physical, will help with navigating the menus.
The Interior space is generous for four occupants. There is room for three abreast on the rear bench but two across will be happier. The best seats in the house are up front as, in the tested M50, they featured the optional power lumbar support, and all positions were covered in black Vernasca leather with blue contrast stitching. The only shortcoming is the challenging second-row ingress and egress due to the sloping roofline and narrow lower door cut-outs.
Built to BMW specs
One of BMW’s most famous aspects is that all their cars sport a perfect or as near as possible 50/50 weight distribution. The RWD eDrive40 is split 45.7%/54.3% (front/rear) while the M50 does better at 48.7/51.3, or better than the M3 Competition xDrive’s 53.1/46.9. This means that the I4 M5 xDrive drives like a true BMW despite weighing about 1,200 lbs more than the M3, or just over 5,000 lbs.
One of the M50’s many talents is immense power. The dual electric motor configuration delivers all of 536 horsepower and a staggering 586 lb.-ft. of torque. The power vs. weight ratio still means that this i4 crushes the 0-100km/h sprint in only 3.9 seconds thanks also in part to the Sport Boost function. Might I remind you that this is not a full-fat M car…
As for range, I’ve no reason to doubt that, in ideal driving circumstances, the i4 M50’s 83.9 kWh battery will deliver on its promise of 435 km. It is capable of downing 205 kW at a time thus on a 150 kW charger, it’ll down 100 km of range every 7 minutes or so. In contrast, the eDrive40 offers up to 484 km of range (lighter, with one motor).
As with most BMWs, there are many different drive modes. There are present ones such as Eco, Sport, and so on. And under these settings are Individual or customizable modes but even in the face of all these possibilities, the basic “comfort” handles all driving duties.
There are also regenerative braking modes that can be set once (low, medium, high, and adaptive). During my test, I opted for medium however in hindsight, adaptive is better assuming it factors in speed. Again, on the topic of drive modes, they obviously impact the car’s adaptive M Suspension with electronically controlled dampers, but I must say that I would have liked a greater amount of compliance from them. The ride isn’t harsh but it’s far from comfy. Handling as a whole is excellent. The body and masses are well countered when talking a curve at speeds. Otherwise, steering reveals as much as possible can and the M brakes are superb.
Tesla Model 3 Performance or BMW i4 M50 xDrive?
The answer is extremely simple: BMW. It’s better built, better sorted, and based on the internet, should be at least as reliable. The caveat is that you can probably take delivery of a Model 3 in two to three months compared to at least 18 months for the i4.
Bottom line, based on this review, I want a next-generation BMW i3 xDrive40 Touring.