For a luxury brand eulogizing the thrill of driving, the onslaught of electrification could mean a radical shift in the way BMW is perceived today. It is still a name that champions the bloke sitting behind the wheel rather than lounging at the back seat but recently it has been more about the grilles being stuck on them and the whole design direction that has been taken. However, the BMW i4 is a bold new luxury sedan mixed with a coupe personality that shows what BMW does best, and that too within an electric canvas. The last bit is interesting as how the ‘i’ sub-brand within BMW is now the centerpiece rather than the ‘M’ division although both are mixed. The i4 M50 for example has an M3 baiting performance along with a layer of electric silence with no drama on the side. The future of performance cars could be something like this but arguably, the eDrive40 could be the i4 iteration that truly shines the brightest in the range.
It is a single motor layout but still develops an ample 335 bhp and all of which is sent to the rear wheels. All that power is nonchalantly laid out the second you brush the throttle while rear-drive histrionics are reserved for when you duly provoke it. There is a sense of purity with the driving experience of the i4 and it feels quicker than its equivalent rivals too. The steering exhibits the sharp response which is expected from any BMW while the ride quality was surprisingly pliant for a sporty BMW. It feels like a better driver’s car with the power sent solely to the rear wheels.
The 81.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack claims a 301-mile range while you can get 280 from the model wearing 18-inch wheels. The M50 while being faster is not as efficient and that is a big highlight which might swing the buyer’s attention towards the eDrive40.
The electric motor itself is not used from rare earth metals, thus making it a ‘greener’ EV than others and about styling, while the i4 is not as sci-fi looking as its iX stablemate, looks svelte with a four-door coupe silhouette. The pillar-less doors are a nice touch and the curvaceous lines are certainly a lot more exciting than a vanilla 3-Series. The interior also reveals a smug cabin design albeit lavishly trimmed with the usual BMW precision. We love the massive curved display and the clarity while the driving position is typically BMW-like. A suite of driver assistance technology is available along with the usual blend of luxury trappings that you expect. Space however is a bit cramped for the rear seat occupants along with the danger of altering one’s hairstyle due to the sloping roof-line eating into the headroom on offer.
At around $57,000, the i4 eDrive40 is a more desirable alternative to any conventional gasoline-powered 3 or 4 Series due to its range, styling, and performance while being a better luxury EV than its more powerful stablemate in the context of more range and a comforting ride.