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BMW i4 eDrive35 Review: Electrified Excellence

You’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the i4 eDrive35 and its eDrive40 predecessor!
Joel Foo
Joel Foo
22 Sep 2023

What we like:
Excellent handling, balanced feel
High quality fit and finish
Comfortable interior made practical with a lift-back
What we dislike:
On-road price owing to sky-high COE prices
Real-world range could be better

I couldn’t help but be overcome by a wave of nostalgia as I stepped into the BMW i4 eDrive35 for this review. Why? It served as a strong reminder for the first car I reviewed for OneShift, the BMW iX3. As the starter in the BMW BEV range, it was decently priced, well built, relatively practical and engaging to drive.

And the i4 manages to do almost all of that. Like the iX3 (which went on to bag the top spot as OneShift's 2021 Car Of The Year), the i4 is based on an existing BMW ICE model, the G26 4 Series Gran Coupé. It might not have been born out as a dedicated EV platform, but we don’t think this is disadvantageous in any way when pitted against its rivals.

With BMW’s signature handling and rear drive set up, you can really feel how ‘balanced’ it feels on the road, which calls to mind the old adage of being the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’.

The eDrive35 now replaces the eDrive40 variant (which we tested some time ago). But the acutely observant might be wondering – what is the key difference between this eDrive35 and 40 variant?

Going by traditional BMW nomenclature, there couldn’t be a more obvious giveaway than from its model designation. Being a ’35’, the i4 comes with a slightly smaller battery capacity than the ’40’ that it replaces. It may be rated at 286 bhp but it achieves the century sprint in 6.0 seconds. This is definitely far from slow when compared to most of the traffic on our roads, especially with 400 Nm of instantaneously available torque.

But what is the resultant range of BMW i4 eDrive35? We started our review on a full charge, and by the end, BMW’s iOS 8 indicated 20% of charge left. Going by the reading on the odometer, 302 km was clocked in total, which means a real-world range of approximately 378 km (assuming energy consumption is linear).

Considering the amount of spirited driving done, and with the air conditioning switched on to ‘antarctic cold’ to counter the Singapore heat, the gap from the 483 km of quoted range on the spec sheet seemed explainable.

For those wondering how long it takes to charge the i4, with your standard Type 2 AC fast charger will give you 100 km of range in less than an hour – an easy boost if your typical lunch spot has EV charging points!

Elsewhere, this eDrive35 is pretty much what we have been used to since we had the M440i xDrive, M50 and eDrive40 variants on test. BMW interiors have always been a nice place to spend time in and the eDrive35 is no exception.

The fit and finish is of a high standard, and everything feels very well put together with a firm and solid touch to it. Now equipped with a sweet sounding Harmon Kardon sound system (that was previously not available in the eDrive40 that it replaces), it also almost felt as if the London Philharmonic Orchestra had found home in the back of the i4.

As if the level of refinement of the G26 4 Series wasn’t high enough – the silently-operating electric motor makes for an extremely peaceful drive. Perfect for end-of-day home-to-office commutes.

It’s a pity we are experiencing COE prices at record breaking prices at the moment. Else being one of the more well-packaged BEVs available on the market, the i4 eDrive35 would have made for an excellent choice as a local runabout for our electric future.

Photos by New Gen Marketing


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