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BMW i4 2022 review

The BMW i4 is available in two forms, the eDrive40 (pictured) and more potent M50.
EXPERT RATING
8.3
BMW was one of the first brands to commit to the electric future with its i3 hatchback, but its cutting-edge technology and bespoke platform drove up prices and kept it out of hands of everyone except early adopters. BMW’s next-gen of EVs, however, share much with corresponding petrol and diesel models. So, does something like the i4 do enough to differentiate itself?

There’s no denying that when most people think of an electric car, they picture a Tesla.

But brands like BMW aren’t just going to sit back and let Elon Musk corner the market.

Enter the new i4, which comes as one of three new EVs to join BMW’s stable in 2022 alongside the iX and iX3.

But what makes the i4 different from the other models is that it’s trying to replicate BMW’s much-loved sports sedan formula, with an all-electric powertrain.

So, does this stylish sedan do enough to tempt you away from a petrol or diesel engine?

BMW i Series 2022: I4 M50 Gran Coupe
Safety rating
Engine Type
Fuel TypeElectric
Fuel Efficiency—L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$124,900

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

With a name like i4, you might be mistaken for thinking this is the sequel to the cute and quirky i3 hatchback released back in 2014.

But sorry duology fans, it isn’t.

Based on the same platform as the ever-popular 3 Series, the i4 is essentially an all-electric version of BMW’s 4 Series Gran Coupe.

And sadly, in 2022 an all-electric powertrain means a price premium.

The i4 kicks off at $99,900, before on-road costs, for this eDrive40 grade - $16,000 more expensive than the comparable 430i Gran Coupe.

Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels. (Image: Tung Nguyen) Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry, push-button start, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, head-up display, wireless smartphone charging, sports seats, three-zone climate control, interior ambient lighting and a powered tailgate.

Handling multimedia duties is a humungous 14.9-inch touchscreen display, powered by BMW’s latest 'iDrive8' software with features including satellite navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, a 10-speaker sound system and digital radio.

Stepping up to the M50 version adds laser headlights, a rear spoiler, sunroof, 16-speaker sound system, metallic paint and heated front seats, but also moves the asking price to $124,900, or $9000 pricier than that M440i Gran Coupe.

Stepping up to the M50 version adds laser headlights. (Image: Tung Nguyen) Stepping up to the M50 version adds laser headlights. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

Of course, the i4 M50 also scores a dual-motor, all-wheel drive set-up and more potent performance, but we’ll go into more detail about that a little later on.

Is $100,000 too much to pay for an electric mid-sized sedan? Well, the most expensive versions of the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3 are much more affordable than this base i4, but then again, neither of those are wearing a BMW badge.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   9/10

If the i4 looks familiar, that’s because it is based on the 4 Series Gran Coupe that entered showrooms last year.

This means a four-door liftback body style with a sloping roofline, athletic proportions and sizing close to the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2.

Let’s get it out of the way early and talk about the elephant in the room, the oversized front grille.

In profile, the 19-inch wheels fill out the arches well, and hide the massive brakes that add to the i4’s sporty appearance. (Image: Tung Nguyen) In profile, the 19-inch wheels fill out the arches well, and hide the massive brakes that add to the i4’s sporty appearance. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

Say whatever you want about it, there’s no denying it gives the i4 a unique and head-turning look, and in my opinion, it’s not too bad.

In the flesh, it really isn’t as big as the press photos have made it out to be, and with the front numberplate to split it up, it does start to look a bit more like a traditional grille.

In profile, the 19-inch wheels fill out the arches well, and hide the massive brakes that add to the i4’s sporty appearance.

I particularly like the almost flush door handles that look futuristic, but aren’t as pretentious as those retractable handles you see on Teslas and Range Rovers.

Slim tail-lights and a chunky bumper inform the styling of the i4’s rear, but we’re really not a fan of a rear diffuser that keeps the exhaust cut-outs.

The instrumentation and multimedia screens dominate the experience inside, the BMW i4 also includes physical buttons on the steering wheel and centre stack. (Image: Tung Nguyen) The instrumentation and multimedia screens dominate the experience inside, the BMW i4 also includes physical buttons on the steering wheel and centre stack. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

It makes sense on a model like the 4 Series Gran Coupe, but it just looks look rather odd on an all-electric model like the i4.

While the outside of the i4 might be all about that big grille, the inside is all about big screens, two of them in fact.

The instrumentation and multimedia screens dominate the experience inside, but BMW has also included physical buttons on the steering wheel and centre stack, as well as a rotary control knob, to make navigating the menus that much easier.

The connected screens differentiate the i4 from its 4 Series Gran Coupe relative, and make the cabin feel futuristic and befitting of the all-electric powertrain.

Overall, the i4’s styling might not be to everyone’s tastes, but BMW definitely gets credit for being bold in its aesthetic choices.

Would have been nice to see BMW’s designers go a bit further in differentiating the i4 from its 4 Series Gran Coupe cousin, but there's no denying the head-turning appeal of this all-electric sedan.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

As a premium mid-sized sedan, the BMW i4 offers up enough storage and space for most, but keep in mind there are limitations.

From the driver’s seat, everything is well placed and the electronically adjustable seats offer plenty of adjustability to get comfy for long road trips.

Storage options include an central cubby, glove box, two cupholders and small door pockets that just about fit a bottle, but the design means it rattles around a little.

From the driver’s seat, everything is well placed and the electronically adjustable seats offer plenty of adjustability to get comfy for long road trips. (Image: Tung Nguyen) From the driver’s seat, everything is well placed and the electronically adjustable seats offer plenty of adjustability to get comfy for long road trips. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

Speaking of fiddly, between this car, and the weird plastic cowl thing found in the Z4 and 1 Series, BMW needs to be called out for some of the most annoying wireless smartphone charger designs.

This one is tucked all the way under a retractable lid, and is barely wide enough to fit some flagship-sized phones.

However, we will give BMW huge props for its iDrive8 multimedia system, which is displayed on a huge 14.9-inch screen.

The menus are clear, concise and intuitive, while the software is buttery smooth and responsive. It feels snappier than some phones we’ve used in the past.

Credit too for not making all inputs touch, as there is a rotary control knob and voice command capability available.

In the second row, things are a little more cramped, but at 183cm tall I can fit in the outboard seats with tight headroom.

In the second row, passengers can make use of the climate controls, USB-C charging ports and a fold-down-centre armrest with two cupholders. (Image: Tung Nguyen) In the second row, passengers can make use of the climate controls, USB-C charging ports and a fold-down-centre armrest with two cupholders. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

There’s enough leg and shoulder-room, too, and passengers can make use of the climate controls, USB-C charging ports and a fold-down-centre armrest with two cupholders.

Opening the boot reveals 470 litres of volume, but fold the rear seats down and that pace swells to 1290L.

Loading large and bulky items is made much easier thanks to the liftback design, and it’s important to note i4 buyers aren't penalised in terms of practicality as the i4 and 4 Series Gran Coupe share the same boot capacity.

  • 2022 BMW i4 I Boot 2022 BMW i4 I Boot
  • 2022 BMW i4 I Boot 2022 BMW i4 I Boot
 

However, the charging cables can get in the way, as there isn’t any dedicated space for them.

The charging point is also in an annoying spot, in the right-rear fender where the petrol cap would be.

It means that you always have to reverse into charging spots, and it can be tricky to manoeuvre the i4 into just the right position to get the charging cable to reach.

The Nissan Leaf's front centre charging port, or the dual charging ports available on the left and right fenders in the Audi e-tron or Porsche Taycan are preferable.

What are the key stats for the drivetrain?   9/10

If there’s one thing BMW knows how to do well, it’s building a sports sedan like no other. And that holds true for its EVs.

Powering this i4 eDrive40 is a single electric motor that produces 250kW/430Nm, which beats the outputs of even the 330i and 430i Gran Coupe.

Powering this i4 eDrive40 is a single electric motor that produces 250kW/430Nm. (Image: Tung Nguyen) Powering this i4 eDrive40 is a single electric motor that produces 250kW/430Nm. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

With drive sent to the rear wheels, the i4 eDrive40 can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 5.7 seconds, beating out the aforementioned 330i and 430i models.

For those that want a bit more pep, the top-spec M50 grade’s dual-motor set-up punches out 400kW/795Nm for a lightning quick 3.9s 0-100km/h run.

Compared with its petrol-powered 4 Series Gran Coupe counterpart, the i4 certainly puts up respectable figures, while offering more than a performance match for the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3.

How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what’s it like to recharge?    9/10

With an 84kWh battery the official range on this i4 eDrive40 is pegged at 590km when tested to WLTP standards.

However, when fully charged, our test car's range readout was around 390km.

But keep in mind EVs aren’t as effective in cold weather, and the mercury was showing only three degrees on most days during this freezing Irish winter.

With an 84kWh battery the official range on this i4 eDrive40 is pegged at 590km when tested to WLTP standards. (Image: Tung Nguyen) With an 84kWh battery the official range on this i4 eDrive40 is pegged at 590km when tested to WLTP standards. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

Luckily then, BMW has included DC fast-charging capabilities in the i4 as standard, with its 210kW CCS plug able to take the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in around half an hour.

BMW has included DC fast-charging capabilities in the i4 as standard, with its 210kW CCS plug able to take the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in around half an hour.

Using an 11kW AC charger however, will require 8.5 hours for a full charge.

BMW has included DC fast-charging capabilities in the i4 as standard, with its 210kW CCS plug able to take the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in around half an hour. (Image: Tung Nguyen) BMW has included DC fast-charging capabilities in the i4 as standard, with its 210kW CCS plug able to take the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in around half an hour. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

In a week with the car, I averaged an energy consumption rating of 23.4kWh per 100km, almost matching the official figure of 22.2kWh/100km.

My driving included several long-distance trips on the freeway, however, an environment in which an electric vehicle does not excel.

Worth noting the heavier and more energy-hungry M50’s official driving range drops to 510km, but we’re yet to test its real-world figures.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

BMW’s i4 is yet to be tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP, so at the time of publication, doesn’t wear an official crash test rating.

Neither does the closely-related 4 Series Gran Coupe, but the 4 Series Coupe, launched in 2019, received a maximum five-star assessment.

It is unclear how much the changes in body style and powertrain affect the safety of occupants, but the i4 comes with long list of advanced safety features.

Specifically, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, high-beam assist, a surround-view camera, parking assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are all included at no extra cost.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Like all BMWs sold in Australia, the i4 comes with a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with roadside assist over that period.

This falls short of the now-standard five-year assurance periods offered by premium rivals Audi, Genesis, Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

Scheduled servicing intervals for the i4 are every 20,000km/24 months, at least in overseas materials.

Australian intervals are yet to be confirmed, but BMW is offering service price plans covering four- and six-year periods in 'Basic' and 'Plus' forms.

The Basic plan for four and six years is set at $1240 and $1765 respectively, while the Plus package is $4805 and $5500.

What's it like to drive?   10/10

If you came here just to find out whether BMW has succeeded in transplanting its signature sports sedan characteristics into the all-electric i4, the answer is, yes.

The best thing I can say about the i4 is that, aside from the way power is delivered and the lack of engine and exhaust noise, it feels just like a 3 or a 4 Series.

Steering is sharp and responsive, throttle and brake inputs are immediate, making this rear-drive i4 a delight to drive enthusiastically.

The staggered Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres and massive brakes obviously help in this regard, and look, it’s not as sharp as the Porsche Taycan, still the sharpest electric vehicle we’ve driven to date, but the driving experience in this i4 is comparable to the excellent 3 Series.

Steering is sharp and responsive, throttle and brake inputs are immediate, making this rear-drive i4 a delight to drive enthusiastically. (Image: Tung Nguyen) Steering is sharp and responsive, throttle and brake inputs are immediate, making this rear-drive i4 a delight to drive enthusiastically. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

But I’m not in love with the fake sound piped into the cabin when in 'Sport' mode. It sounds weirdly low-rent and I much prefer to accelerate to triple digit speeds in serene, near-silence.

Switch things up to 'Comfort' mode, and the i4 makes for a surprisingly relaxed drive.

The steering gets bit a looser and the adaptive dampers ease off a little, soaking up bumps and road imperfections with minimal affect to occupants.

Switch things up to 'Comfort' mode, and the i4 makes for a surprisingly relaxed drive. (Image: Tung Nguyen) Switch things up to 'Comfort' mode, and the i4 makes for a surprisingly relaxed drive. (Image: Tung Nguyen)

Pair this with the nearly-silent electric powertrain, and well, our little one in the back seat has fallen asleep on more than one occasion in my time with the car

You can also adjust the level of regenerative braking in the i4 and operate it with one pedal like in the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

This is a more efficient way to drive an EV as it forces you to look ahead and be careful with your throttle inputs.

One-pedal driving might not be for everyone, but it’s nice to have the option there.

Verdict

If you’re intimidated by the electric future, don't be, because BMW’s i4 is just as good as any non-M sedan BMW offers right now.

The i4 delivers all the things you love about a 3 Series, engaging driving dynamics, a well-appointed interior and comfortable ride, but its all-electric powertrain means you’ll never have to stop at a servo again.

With a large battery on board, the i4 also serves up a decent driving range that should put anxiety-prone EV drivers at ease.

That is, of course, if you can get onboard with the looks.

Pricing guides

$146,900
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$70,900
Highest Price
$222,900

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
IX Xdrive40 —, Electric, 1 SP AUTO $135,900 2022 BMW i Series 2022 IX Xdrive40 Pricing and Specs
IX Xdrive40 Sport —, Electric, 1 SP AUTO $141,900 2022 BMW i Series 2022 IX Xdrive40 Sport Pricing and Specs
IX Xdrive50 Sport —, Electric, 1 SP AUTO $169,900 2022 BMW i Series 2022 IX Xdrive50 Sport Pricing and Specs
IX3 M Sport —, Electric, 1 SP AUTO $114,900 2022 BMW i Series 2022 IX3 M Sport Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8.3
Price and features7
Design9
Practicality7
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption9
Safety8
Ownership7
Driving10
Tung Nguyen
News Editor

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