2022 BMW i4 eDrive 40 review

The German brand has enlisted one of Hollywood’s biggest names to help boost the driving experience of its latest weapon.

For decades, BMW has created some of the most seductive and four dynamic-doors on the planet.

Now, as the automotive world moves towards electrification, it is re-imagining the formula.

The new i4, BMW’s latest EV, shares its body and underpinnings with the 4-Series Gran Coupe, which in turn is derived from the popular 3-Series sedan.

With 250kW and 430Nm in the entry-level eDrive 40, the i4 is one of the most powerful single-motor EVs on the market.

Hit the accelerator and there’s a smooth but energetic surge. The dash to 100km/h is claimed to take 5.7 seconds, but the near-immediate initial response and low-speed enthusiasm give it an engaging character.

There’s also a hint of Hollywood when you press the throttle, as the BMW has a synthesized motor sound created by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer. The aural intensity steps up in the M50, the first electric BMW to wear the famous M badge. There’s even a whiff of the classic BMW six-cylinder snarl in its gruffness.

The M50 also pulls much harder thanks to the inclusion of an additional motor to drive the front wheels. That motor takes peak outputs to 400kW and 795Nm, more than BMW’s legendary M3/M4. The dash to 100km/h is dispatched in 3.9 seconds.

But the emphasis with the M-tuned electric newcomer is more everyday touring rather than racetrack talents. It’s slick and quick around town and fun and exciting on a snacking piece of bitumen. Through bends, there’s loads of grip from the standard 19-inch tires or optional 20s, while the batteries lining the floor create a low center of gravity for added stability through corners.

It’s an agile and competent four-door that points crisply. The eDrive 40 has a respectably comfortable ride considering its athletic focus. The M50 has a firmer suspension tune in keeping with its hardened dynamic edge. In its most aggressive driving mode, the adaptive dampers make things bumpier.

The M50’s claimed range between charges is 465km, down on the 520km of its less powerful eDrive 40 sibling due to the additional performance and weight. When it comes time to charge, the i4 can accept up to 200kW of fast DC charging, enough to boost the 81kWh of usable battery capacity from 10 to 80 per cent in as little as 31 minutes.

BMW also includes a five-year subscription to the Chargefox public charging network to allow free top-ups.

It’s part of a long list of equipment that for the $110,000 drive-away eDrive 40 includes 19-inch alloys, head-up display, digital instrument cluster, power-operated front seats, smart-key entry, wireless phone charging and ambient lighting.

As well as the extra performance and all-wheel drive traction, the about $135,000 M50 adds metallic colours, laser headlights, a sunroof, heating for the front seats, a rear spoiler and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Reinforcing its M lineage are various M design touches, including seatbelts with the sub-brand’s colors.

Unlike BMW’s early EV efforts – most notably the quirky i3 – there’s a normality to the i4 and its controls, layout and details.

There’s a thoroughly familiar flavor inside, from the finishes and materials to the controls and displays. Slide into the low-slung front seats and they hug nicely, the main controls tilted towards the driver.

Space and adjustability are good, although those in the rear aren’t as well catered for with knee room. Unlike EVs built on dedicated architectures, the i4 maintains a hump in the center of the floor, which means it’s best for four rather than five.

Another drawback is BMW’s sub-par three-year warranty. While it misses some of the advantages of starting from a clean sheet of paper, the i4 builds solid BMW credibility elsewhere and is a safe entry to EV life in a category that is close to the brand’s core.

VERDICT 4/5

Engaging rear-drive four-door EV that oozes BMW character.

BMW i4 eDRIVE 40 VITALS

PRICE From $110,000 drive-away

WARRANTY/SERVICING 3 yrs/unlimited km

SAFETY 6 airbags, auto emergency braking, lane-keep and blind-spot assist, front and rear cross-traffic alert

MOTOR Single electric motor, 250kW/430Nm

TIDY 465-520km

SPARE repair kit

LUGGAGE 470 liters

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