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Road tests

BMW i4 eDrive35 2023 review: the cheapest i4 yet

The i4 eDrive35 offers the same level of tech as the rest of the line-up, but at a lower price

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The cheaper eDrive35 is a welcome addition to the BMW i4 range, sacrificing little with regards to performance and range, and nothing when it comes to standard equipment, quality or technology. It’s a significant price drop, but there’s no shying away from the fact that at nearly £50k, it’s almost exactly the same price as a facelifted Tesla Model 3 Long Range – a car that’ll officially do more than 400 miles on a charge.

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As well as launching the all-new i5, BMW has been busy bolstering its range of electric vehicles by adding extra battery and motor configurations to existing models. The most recent of which is this: the BMW i4 eDrive35.

A new entry-point to the i4 line-up, the eDrive35 sits below the eDrive40 and M50, featuring a less powerful rear-mounted motor and a smaller battery for a slightly shorter range. If maximum mileage isn’t a concern, could this be the best i4 yet?

The headline price certainly appeals. Starting from £49,995 in Sport trim, the eDrive35 undercuts its longer-range sibling by almost £8k – and yet only sacrifices 60-odd miles on a full charge. It won’t top up as quickly (180kW plays the eDrive40’s 205kW peak) but the smaller battery means you won’t be sitting at the services for too much longer; a 10-80 per cent charge is possible in 32 minutes.

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The fact that the eDrive35 is down on power shouldn’t put you off, either. This is still a 3 Series-sized saloon-cum-hatchback that’ll do 0-62mph in six seconds – just three-tenths of a second slower than the eDrive40. It’s not dramatically down on power or torque, so it still feels really quick off the line, as well as during mid-range overtakes.

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It feels poised through the corners, too. It’s more agile than the larger i5, changing direction with purpose and remaining almost completely flat in the process. But this agility doesn’t come at the expense of the ride; the BMW i4 could teach the Polestar 2 a thing or two when it comes to comfort, that’s for sure.

But that comfort, matched to excellent refinement, is what makes the i4 such a great long-distance cruiser – and is part of the reason we named it Premium Electric Car of the Year at our 2023 New Car Awards. Slashing 64 miles from the range (in M Sport guise) isn’t insignificant, however – especially as our average efficiency of 3.5mi/kWh suggests you can expect around 235 miles in normal driving. Only you can decide whether that suits your needs.

Elsewhere though, the i4 remains a really lovely executive car. The crisp curved panel for the infotainment system and instrument cluster might not have the wow-factor of a Tesla’s sole touchscreen, but the technology works well. The BMW sets a high benchmark for quality in this segment, too.

Despite the fact most people will opt for the M Sport trim, it’s the base car we’d recommend. The Sport gets heated seats, cruise control and sat-nav, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels as standard. You can upgrade to 18s for no extra cost, bar a few miles of range. 

M Sport is only £1,500 more and swaps out some of the i4’s blue detailing for gloss black, while also bringing a slightly more dynamic look overall. The Alcantara trim is another worthwhile upgrade, though you’ll still need to pay extra for our car’s sliding sunroof (£1,155) and Technology Pack (£1,995) which adds a Harman Kardon stereo, wireless charging and head-up display.

Model:BMW i4 eDrive35 M Sport
Price:£51,495
Powertrain:67kWh battery, 1x e-motor
Power/torque:278bhp/400Nm
Transmission:Single-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:6.0 seconds
Top speed:118mph
Range/charging:288 miles/180kW, 10-80% in 32 mins
On sale:Now
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Deputy editor

Richard has been part of the team for over a decade. During this time he has covered a huge amount of news and reviews for Auto Express, as well as being the face of Carbuyer and DrivingElectric on Youtube. In his current role as deputy editor, he is now responsible for keeping our content flowing and managing our team of talented writers.

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