BMW i4 review - Range, charging and running costs

The i4 costs more to buy than some close rivals, but should be relatively cheap to run

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Range, charging and running costs Rating

4.4 out of 5

  • Build quality
  • Decent range
  • Impressive on-board tech
  • Expensive to buy compared to rivals
  • Tight rear space
  • Some pricey optional kit
Representative Example - Personal Contract Purchase: Cash Price £10,000.00, Deposit £1500.00, borrowing £8,500.00 over 4 years at 7.4% Representative APR (fixed). 47 monthly payments of £132.04 followed by a final payment of £4127.50. Total cost of credit £1833.38. Total amount payable £11,833.38. Based on 8,000 miles per annum. Excess mileage charges apply if exceeded. Finance subject to status 18+ only.

BMW claims that all i4 models are capable of travelling more than 300 miles on a single battery charge, with the eDrive40 Sport version providing the longest range at 365 miles. If you upgrade to the M sport trim then overall range falls to 352 miles, which seems achievable when you consider that, during our own test in colder weather, we saw an efficiency rate of 3.8miles/kWh and a 307-mile range.

Travelling over 300 miles without topping up the battery in the performance-focused M50 model might be a little trickier. It has a claimed maximum range of 315 miles, but if you’re keen on testing out the M50’s pace, then a more realistic figure might be around 250 miles.

Plug your i4 into a 7.4 kWh home wallbox and it’ll take around 13 hours to achieve a full charge, while a 100kW public charger needs 41 minutes to take the i4’s 80.7kWh battery from 10 to 80 per cent, according to BMW. Buyers receive a free 12-month subscription to the Ionity charging network, which helps to reduce running costs, particularly if you cover bigger mileages and frequently use rapid chargers.

Insurance groups

With insurance premiums for electric cars often being a little higher than their combustion-engined siblings, BMW has managed to achieve a competitive insurance group rating for the i4. On the 1-50 scale, the i4 sits in group 35 for the 335bhp xDrive40 Sport model, or group 36 for the M Sport version, while the petrol-powered 242bhp 430i Gran Coupe M Sport is in group 34.

The i4’s Polestar 2 rival only offers 228bhp, but is also in group 35, while insurance ratings for the Tesla Model 3 are much higher. This is due to industry body, Thatcham Research, identifying the Model 3 as only offering basic levels of protection for vehicle security and potentially being more open to theft. 

Depreciation

Choose a 4 Series Gran Coupe with either a petrol or a diesel engine and, after a typical three-year/36,000-mile ownership period, it should be worth around 50 per cent of its original list price. For private buyers, the i4 is a better long-term proposition, holding onto an average of 55 per cent over three years.

In comparison, the Tesla Model 3 is a similar performer to the i4, with the Polestar 2 just a point or two ahead, depending on which specification you choose.

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