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In-depth reviews

BMW i4 - Interior, design and technology

Buyers who prioritise good build quality and the latest on-board technology will appreciate the BMW i4

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.6 out of 5

Price
£50,755 to £72,140
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Unlike the more grandiose iX SUV and i7 limousine, the i4 blends into everyday traffic a lot better because it doesn’t look that different to the 4 Series Gran Coupe it’s based on. The closed off kidney grille and subtle blue accents are the biggest give away that there isn’t a combustion engine under the bonnet. The oversized grille design has attracted some criticism, but the overall look of the i4 remains suitably smart and sophisticated, while the five-door body style ensures it maintains a real presence on the road.

A quick peek inside the i4 cabin will reassure you that BMW hasn’t scrimped on build quality – it's typically faultless, with lots of soft-touch materials in use, along with brushed metal and carbon-fibre-effect accents. The twin digital screens form a curved display and are a standout feature, while i4 runs the latest version of BMW’s iDrive operating system.

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The entry-level eDrive35 Sport model is well enough equipped with a choice of 17- or 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, sports seats, a reversing camera and a heat pump which helps to improve the electric motor’s efficiency. However, for an extra £1,500, it’ll be difficult to resist the lure of the (mostly) cosmetic upgrades that come with the stylish M Sport trim, with eDrive40 buyers given the same choice of trims.

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There’s a lengthy list of optional extras for i4 buyers to choose from as well, including an electric sliding sunroof, Harman Kardon surround sound system and retractable tow bar that each cost around £1,000. Alternatively, you can add one of the several options packs, such as the Comfort Pack that bundles keyless access and a heated steering wheel, or the Visibility Pack that includes high beam assist and BMW’s laserlight headlamps.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The i4 borrows its infotainment tech from the iX electric SUV, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel placed alongside a 14.9-inch touchscreen in one seamless, gently curving display. It looks stunning, and manages to strike a usable balance between contemporary touchscreen functions and the iDrive clickwheel and shortcut buttons. These are so intuitive that they barely need a second glance to use. 

The screens look fantastic, too, although some drivers who are used to BMW’s simple analogue clocks might think the semi-hexagonal speedometer design is a little fussy. The graphics are clear, though. If you’d rather make the most of your smartphone’s processing power, then the latest iDrive system integrates the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto apps fully into the main touchscreen, and they both look and function brilliantly as a result.

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