BMW i4 eDrive40 Review: Power, Presentation And Price Are Just Nice

Text by James Wong; Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club
25 May 2022
 

Perhaps best of all, it is priced between the 420i Gran Coupé and 430i Gran Coupé, yet seems like a far more compelling car than either of them.

When we drove the BMW M440i Gran Coupé, we thought we couldn’t find a sweeter car in the range.

It’s still true. The i4 is perhaps not better, but it is just as impressive. The commonalities between the two are a terrific chassis, superb build quality, liftback practicality and door handles that can bite as hard as a dog’s jaw. Jokes aside, the G26 is probably the best iteration of the 4 Series Gran Coupé since its inception.

It’s a good base on which the i4 is built upon. Even though it is not a dedicated BEV platform per se, there are virtually no compromises with the i4 despite being electric, when it comes to interior packaging. It’s nigh on identical, even down to the frunk which remains unusable despite the absence of an engine.

Behind the wheel, the i4 is ironically more classically BMW because of its pure rear-wheel drive setup. The sportiest in the range, the M440i, is only offered with xDrive in the local market. We note in our review of that car that ‘there is no longer that tail wiggle or dab of oversteer on heavy throttle inputs; there is just so much grip now that it is predisposed for stability.’

Well, it’s a whole different story with the i4. With all safety systems on, power is curtailed before any hint of instability; in ESP Sport, some measure of adjustability is allowed, and when ESP is off everything is in your hands. With the instant EV torque, there is even more accessible fun than you can gather from most other BMW ICE cars in the same price range. Even the simulated electric sound is rather satisfying, and differs in intonation when you hit higher speeds. It’s a pity though that the steering feels more digital than we would like.

Silliness aside, the i4 manages to be an incredibly sorted BEV that just happens to look rather stunning (if one could look past the front grille). Official WLTP-rated range is up to 590 km, and similar to our experience with the iX3, there is an abundant amount of range on tap to never have to feel any anxiety. We started the drive with 79% charge with an indicated 297 km of range, and ended with 27% of charge with 108 km of range. Extrapolating that, it is about 360-370 km of real world range. Mind you, we were driving pretty aggressively (can’t help it with that sweet FR balance)...

Could the car’s decent efficiency be due to the single-motor setup? Sure, 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds is not fast in BEV World, but it is plenty fast enough for Singapore and is even more fun because you can give it the beans for more without reaching speed limits in a flash. We at OneShift feel there really isn’t a need for a dual-motor setup for Singapore, where besides the superfluous power bump, at present moment you are also unfairly taxed due to a quirk in the calculation system. Until this is resolved, you’re paying more tax than you should with a dual-motor BEV.

The i4 is the base for the first BEV by BMW M, which is a strong hint about the strong foundations of the car. Perhaps best of all, it is priced between the 420i Gran Coupé and 430i Gran Coupé, yet seems like a far more compelling car than either of them. It’s a no-brainer, really, if you have decent access to charging.

 

 

In Summary

We Like

Excellent dynamics, build quality and decent range.

We Don't

Love-it-or-hate-it front grille; vague steering feel.

Verdict

The sportiest BEV from BMW yet is a great foretaste of what's to come.

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