Review of the new BMW i4 eDrive40 car

This “driving machine par excellence” from Europe focuses on the US marque, packing luxury features in an eye-catching prestige package.

BMW has built its reputation by selling “the ultimate driving machine” to enthusiasts.

The new BMW i4 offers a green twist on the brand’s traditional rear-wheel drive executive sedan.

It is an electrified BMW 4 Series

There are two types of electric cars. Some are designed from a clean sheet of paper like electric vehicles, while others are gasoline-powered cars whose engines, gearboxes, and fuel tanks are replaced with batteries and engines.

This is the second, a car that has a lot in common with the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupeitself a sporty spin-off of the BMW 3 Series sedan.

This approach usually results in a car with less intelligent packaging than dedicated electric vehicles, at a more palatable price point. This is the case with the i4.

Electric cars aren’t cheap

On sale for $ 99,900 more on the road (about $ 110,000 in the car), the entry-level rear-wheel drive BMW i4 eDrive40 costs at least $ 10,000 more than an equivalent gasoline model.

But that’s a whopping $ 36,000 cheaper than bespoke BMW iX electric car which has a similar electric motor and battery, or $ 15,000 less than the X3 BMW iX3.

You can get much more powerful all-wheel drive Tesla Model 3 for the price of a two-wheel drive i4 – a dual-engined BMW comes in at a premium of $ 25,000 for the model shown here.

Get quality hardware

The rear-wheel drive BMW i4 has a single 250kW / 430Nm electric motor mounted on the rear axle. That’s a lot of grunts for a single-engine electric car and enough for a claimed 5.7-second sprint to 100km / h.

BMW claims that an 84 kWh lithium-ion battery offers an impressive range of 520 km. The cabin feels like a full-fledged luxury car, supported by a huge dual-screen digital display that curves into the dashboard, along with luxuries like an electric tailgate and active cruise control. But you have to pay extra for heated seats and lumbar adjustment, which should be standard.

There are smart electric touches

Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer created a space-age electronic soundtrack that is piped into the cockpit when you start your car and drive, but also plays outside at low speed to warn pedestrians.

BMW also offsets the price of the i4 with a five-year free subscription to the Chargefox network, where you can go from 10 to 80% charge in 31 minutes. An optional home wall box also reduces charging times from seven hours to 1 hour and 23 minutes for every 100 kilometers of range.

It’s not really the driver’s choice

The i4 is a refined machine that offers fast and near-silent progress. It drives well, aided by the self-leveling air suspension on the rear axle.

The regeneration of electricity is also well integrated. But it doesn’t match the athleticism of its conventionally-powered cousins, as the i4 weighs nearly half a ton more than a petrol equivalent. The electric car’s reactions to bumps and driver inputs are slower than its siblings, the steering is lighter than BMW customers expect, and careful mapping of the throttle response returns smooth progress rather than it. instant shot you get from a Tesla.

Originally published as BMW i4 eDrive40 electric car review