BMW i4 review - Engines, performance and drive
The BMW i4 shows that an electric car can deliver plenty of driving feel and enjoyment
As with its iX SUV, BMW has fitted its fifth-generation eDrive electrical system to the i4, with the electric motor, transmission and electronics all contained in a single unit for greater efficiency. But, arguably the manufacturer’s greatest achievement with the i4 is the way it drives: despite weighing in at over two tonnes, the five-door Gran Coupe is superb through the corners with plenty of grip, a precise feel to the steering and no hint of understeer. In fact, aside from the lack of combustion noise, we think you’d struggle to tell the difference between the i4 and a fossil-fuelled 4 Series Gran Coupe out on the road.
The single rear-mounted motor in the eDrive40 model produces 335bhp and 430Nm of torque, which means it has more than enough punch for everyday driving situations. With these numbers in mind, you might think the i4 would deliver a firmer ride, but in Comfort mode the dampers soak up most imperfections in the road and help keep things relaxed - whether on a twisty B-road or on longer motorway journeys.
BMW has been particularly clever with the position of the i4’s 80.7kWh battery; it sits low in the car’s floor and gives a centre of gravity that is 53mm lower than a 3 Series saloon - going someway to offsetting the extra weight of the electric Gran Coupe. Air suspension is also standard on all models which suggests that ride composure was a key priority for the manufacturer in the design and setup of the i4.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
The i4 eDrive40 uses a single, rear-mounted electric motor driving the rear wheels. It produces 335bhp and 430Nm of torque, which enables it to sprint from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and achieve a 118mph maximum. Moving up to the M50 model means an increase in power to 469bhp and a significant jump in torque to 730Nm, while it’s also possible to engage a 10-second boost mode which unlocks the M50’s full 537bhp and 795Nm. 0-62mph takes 3.9 seconds, with a top speed of 139mph.
In this review
- 1VerdictSophisticated, well-built and typically great to drive, the all-electric BMW i4 is an easy car to recommend
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe BMW i4 shows that an electric car can deliver plenty of driving feel and enjoyment
- 3Range, charging and running costsThe i4 costs more to buy than some close rivals, but should be relatively cheap to run
- 4Interior, design and technologyBuyers who prioritise good build quality and the latest on-board technology will appreciate the BMW i4
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceFor a sporty Gran Coupe, the electric i4 offers decent practicality and plenty of comfort, although rear passenger space is a bit tight
- 6Reliability and safetyStandard safety kit is good, while the i4 should be a dependable all-electric car