What is this?
The EV that BMW also hopes to earn the necessary money. This in contrast to the iX, where the Germans mainly want to make the world aware that the brand not only wants to participate, but also wants to be at the forefront of the EV race.
Or something more concrete: the i4 does without the abstract modernism of the iX. This does not mean that the five-door is therefore not fitted with an appropriate habit. Or a custom cross. This retuned 4 Gran Coupé should therefore also be able to guide the necessary souls towards the light, a mission for which it counts on, among other things:
- The 5th generation eDrive. Indeed, just like the iX
- The BMW Operating System 8, including the Curved Display. He also shares that with the iX.
- A particularly balanced bicycle section. Something the i4 has more in common with the 4 Gran Coupé.
- Tesla’s Model 3. Of course we would say. The Polestar 2 also deserves a mention, albeit that with its four-door style it is already a bit more wringing. We also want to give Kia and its EV6 GT their podium, albeit purely for the potential of the Korean hot hatch.
- BMW sent us from Berchtesgaden to Munich. A course that we liked for two reasons. Firstly, because it passed the limbo of the Alps (bends!), secondly, because it stretched for almost 200 kilometers. Which left us the opportunity to draw conclusions about both the performance and endurance of the BMW i4 M50.
Test vehicle specifications
- Color: M Portimao Blue
- Rims: whoppers of 20 inches
- Options: yes, albeit very few. Some colors, different rims and an upgraded interior, but that’s about it.
If we understand correctly, with the i4 design the designers were mainly looking for consensus?
Yep, hence the choice for the familiar and – compared to the iX – conservative style of the 4 Gran Coupé. At 4.8 meters in length, 1.9 meters in width and 1.4 meters in height, the BMW i4 takes up almost the same space.
The only deviations are the tracks that are 26 millimeters wider for the electric 4 at the front and 12 millimeters at the rear. Of course in function of the battery pack that was installed under the floor.
So, the i4 is really no more or less than a battery-powered 4 Gran Coupé?
Short-sighted, but actually, yes. That is to say, the four adults who can easily and comfortably settle into the BMW i4 (the rear passengers are not too big due to the diving roof pillar) will immediately recognize themselves in terms of legroom and headroom, but not in terms of view. .
Following the iX, you command the BMW i4 via the new Operating System 8 and the gigantic Curved Display that goes with it. The information that is projected on the 12.3-inch counter party and the 14.9-inch large touch screen, on the other hand, can still be operated via the well-known iDrive and steering wheel buttons. Function keys that are also incorporated in an otherwise very similar board shelf.
In short, in terms of external differences inside, the BMW i4 – of course except for the obligatory blue accents – sticks to that curved widescreen and its driver. For the sake of completeness, we also state that the 470 liters of luggage capacity (extendable to 1,290 liters with the folding of the rear seats) is also interchangeable between the different 4’s.`
What about the i4’s 5th generation eDrive?
Like the iX, the BMW i4 uses synchronous motors without permanent magnets. BMW now induces the magnetic field between the copper windings and the steel shield of the rotor, which comes with two major advantages. First, in this setup there is no need for rare metals normally used for the permanent magnets. Second, the strength of the magnetic field can be controlled and adjusted according to the power demand. This means that the electric motors of the i4 not only make their maximum torque available almost immediately, but also maintain it over a much longer speed band.
In the case of the BMW i4 M50 – the brand’s first electric M (Performance) and also the only i4 that we have been able to test effectively – that mainly means that you have to release the potentiometer (or wait for the speed needle to reach 225 km/h). hits the limiter) before the pressure on your body decreases.
With its two engines – one of 258 hp and 430 Nm at the front and a mill of 313 hp and 365 Nm at the rear – the M50 is good for a system power of 476 hp and 730 Nm. With the boost function (which activates as standard in the Sport program), this increases for 10 seconds to a peak of 544 hp and 795 Nm.
Given that the sprint to 100 km/h is over after 3.9 seconds (with additional help from the launch control) and the speed build-up remains virtually unchanged afterwards, it will probably not come as a surprise that – by the time the boost bar in the digital counter party has run out – you are not far from the top speed of this M50.
Even if you leave the front engine for what it is – which is essentially the sacrifice the BMW i4 eDrive40 makes compared to the M50 – with its remaining 340 hp and 430 Nm there is still enough electric power to drive this slightly more docile Gran. Coupé from standstill to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. A party that is slightly faster with the rear-wheel drive i4, given its electronic limiter it already stops at 190 km/h.
How does the i4 do at the charging station?
The maximum recuperation when decelerating is 195 kW for the i4 M50 (116 kW for the eDrive40, as it only has one motor), which is not so much less than the 205 kW that this i4 receives on DC power. In concrete terms, this means that you can park next to such a fast charger for half an hour if you want to charge the 83.9 kWh (of which 80.7 kWh of net capacity) of batteries from 10 to 80 percent.
On AC power, the internal charger is limited to 11 kW, increasing the charging time to a good 8 hours (fully empty to completely full). If we are to believe BMW, that should suffice for a range of at least 416 kilometers. For the BMW i4 eDrive40, that lower limit is even 493 kilometers.
Le moment supreme: how much joy offers the i4 am Fahren?
Well, it is very impressive to see and feel how the BMW i4 M50 gets its speed. Especially in the distribution of power between the axles. By fully variably changing the driving force between the front and rear axles in milliseconds – in this case controlled by the so-called Near-Actuator Wheel Slip Limitation, an additional function of the DSC – the i4 M50 can fully use its peak power in almost all conditions. Moreover, it also provides the necessary intransigence.
The increased rigidity of the chassis and the lower center of gravity – both thanks to the battery pack integrated into the structure – mean that the BMW i4 stands on its wheels even more firmly than the regular 4. The multi-link at the rear has been reworked so that the 120 kilos that the electric motor adds there would not weigh on the driving performance. This is partly the reason behind the installation of the automatic leveling air suspension at the rear, although it also serves comfort.
The BMW M50 adds reinforcement bars in the engine bay and adaptive dampers on top. In their specific set-up, the latter were tuned to maximize stability and agility without compromising comfort. Well-being that there is most certainly. What’s more, we’ve never been in an M (Performance) that manages to combine such steering finesse with equally great suspension softness.
BMW asks at least 59,600 euros for the i4 eDrive40. For the i4 M50, that already rises to 73,000 euros. Solid prices, although we add in the same breath that we – bearing in mind the performance, comfort and the most extensive standard equipment – do not even consider that such an exaggerated sum.
All the more so since this i4 can also be entered in the books for the full 100%, while no taxes are owed on it either (or at least in Flanders).
>>> BMW i4: discover all models, versions and prices
The AutoWorld verdict
The electric BMW i4 has – certainly as an M50 – turned out to be a pleasant symbiosis between performance and driving pleasure on the one hand and efficiency and range on the other. A spreading position that makes this BMW a particularly impressive all-rounder.