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BMW i4 Review 2022: Electrified Powertrain Featuring Traditional Style

Image Source: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

Incorporating an electric powertrain, the 2022 BMW i4 is an electric sedan that upholds the traditional style seen in the 4-Series. It competes in the electric vehicle segment, against contenders such as the Tesla Model 3, Genesis GV60, and Kia EV6. While the i4’s design choices lean towards the conservative side, the electric powertrain injects a fresh essence into BMW’s lineup. Upon overlooking the front-end design, the i4 delivers a compelling blend of driving performance, technological innovations, and features, all while maintaining an eco-friendly profile with zero emissions.

The significant kidney grille, characterized by its large dual openings dominating the front facade, stands out as BMW’s recent controversial styling feature. Albeit more acceptable on some of the brand’s larger models, it appears excessively prominent and mismatched on the i4. Furthermore, the solid grille design on the i4 lacks functional cooling benefits, leaving room for improvement in its design. On the flip side, the M50 variants present a more appealing look, with additional vents and contours on the lower front fascia diverting attention away from the grille. Opting for darker exterior hues helps in masking the oversized front grille, with brighter colors accentuating a notable resemblance to Cyrano in automotive form.

The single-motor eDrive35 and eDrive40 configurations offer rear-wheel drive, whereas the M50 model boasts two motors and all-wheel drive capability. Impressively, the i4 demonstrates swift acceleration, complemented by a low center of gravity that enhances handling prowess and stability. The M50 variants come equipped with a boost function that delivers a discernible surge in power.

While the eDrive35 testing remains pending, its smaller 70.2-kWh battery (66 kWh usable) powers a single motor generating 281 hp, propelling the i4 from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds. On the other hand, the eDrive40 variant churns out 335 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque from its single motor, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds. Contrasting with its counterparts, the M50 model showcases a formidable performance, with its dual motors combining to produce 536 hp and 586 lb-ft, enabling a swift 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds.

Notably, the M50 attains its peak power output exclusively in boost mode, activated when the car is already set to Sport mode. The boost mode remains operable for brief 10-second intervals but can be engaged multiple times successively. Our testing has primarily focused on the M50 variant, which although lacks the instantaneous acceleration feel of a Tesla, offers a compelling level of speed and maintains power efficiency even at high speeds. This translates to enhanced control when exiting corners by engaging the throttle assertively, ensuring a balanced performance.

Benefiting from a low-mounted battery, the i4 achieves enhanced stability and a grounded driving feel. Standard rear air suspension with self-leveling attributes aids in reducing pitch and roll effect. The M50 trims integrate adaptive suspension with customizable settings, seamlessly transitioning between comfort and firmness based on driving preferences. Handling dynamics are notably impressive, allowing the car to respond promptly to directional inputs.

In terms of safety features, the i4 offers an array of advanced technologies, with the best features being optional additions. As crash testing from IIHS and NHTSA is pending, an official safety rating is yet to be determined. Standard safety provisions include automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, and lane departure alerts. Optional safety enhancements comprise adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, active lane-keeping assist, and a surround-view camera system.

The selection of wheels significantly impacts the i4’s driving range. The eDrive40 model achieves a maximum range of 301 miles, with the noted range reflecting performance on 18-inch wheels; opting for larger 19-inch wheels reduces the range to 282 miles. Conversely, on 18-inch wheels, the eDrive35 is rated for 260 miles of range. Impressively, the M50 model achieves 270 miles with standard 19-inch wheels, but a reduction to 227 miles is observed with 20-inch wheels featuring grippy summer tires.

In terms of efficiency, the eDrive40 variant delivers 3.2 miles/kWh with 18-inch wheels, dropping to 2.9 miles/kWh with 19-inch wheels. The M50 model exhibits a steeper decline, transitioning from 2.8 to 2.3 miles/kWh. The eDrive40 presents an efficiency rating of 109/99 MPGe combined, while the M50 records 96/80 MPGe. Although competitive within its segment, the i4 falls short of the Tesla Model 3’s impressive 358-mile range and 131 MPGe rating for its long-range variant.

Moving to the interior, the i4 exudes a positive ambiance. Placing the dual displays side by side on the dashboard infuses a futuristic flair, albeit requiring a stretch to access the far-right side of the screen. A secondary controller positioned next to the drive selector serves as a convenient backup for operating the infotainment system. Material quality stands out, elevating the i4’s interior appeal and placing it ahead of the Model 3 in terms of refinement.

In terms of practicality, the liftgate proves convenient for accessing the rear cargo area. Differing from its 4-Series counterpart, the i4 exclusively adopts a four-door body style housing five seats and a liftgate for enhanced trunk access. Commendable aspects include the excellent front seats and the upscale interior quality, yet accommodating four adults may present a challenge due to the restricted rear seat space.

Front seats come with standard power adjustments and faux leather upholstery, with the option to upgrade to heated, ventilated, and genuine leather materials. Regardless of the selected configuration, the seats deliver superior comfort and adequate support to occupants. The rear outboard seats also offer good comfort levels, coupled with sufficient legroom, yet the i4’s design negatively impacts headroom for taller passengers. Notably, a pronounced floor hump further restricts foot space beneath the front seats, making it challenging to accommodate three adults in the rear comfortably for extended journeys.

Delivering extensive standard features and customization options, the i4 caters to a diverse array of preferences. Encompassing a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty and 3 years/36,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance akin to its gasoline-powered counterparts, BMW further sweetens the deal for EV buyers by including two years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions through Electrify America. On a fast-charging station, this duration suffices to replenish the battery from 10% to 80% capacity.

For buyers content with a balanced blend of performance and efficiency, the eDrive35 variant emerges as a value-oriented choice at $52,395. Meanwhile, the eDrive40 variant excels in efficiency and range compared to its dual-motor counterpart, commencing at $56,895 (or $11,400 below the M50). Both the eDrive35 and eDrive40 share identical equipment setups, differing only in battery capacity.

Standard features across all variants include a 12.3-inch driver display, 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen, power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, and 18-inch wheels. Enhancing the eDrive40 trim involves incorporating nearly all available i4 options, encompassing leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, wireless device charging, and a head-up display. The M50 variant initiates at $68,295 but can be customized to approximately $85,000 through BMW’s diverse array of paint, upholstery, and technology packages.

The new i4 preserves BMW’s renowned tradition, blending exceptional sport sedan dynamics with refined road manners now augmented by electrified powertrain options. Despite utilizing an existing platform, the end product emerges as a successful embodiment of BMW’s design philosophy. Notably, the i4 stands out as a preferred electric sport sedan, capable of infusing driving pleasure into every journey. Selecting the ideal variant is contingent upon driving preferences, with the eDrive40 catering to range-focused individuals and the M50 appealing to enthusiasts seeking thrilling performance. Regardless of choice, the i4 emerges as a compelling electric sport sedan option.

Image Source: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

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