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Review of the 2022 BMW i4: Electric Powertrain Paired With a Classic Style

Image Source: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

The 2022 BMW i4 is an electric sedan that maintains the classic style of the 4-Series while integrating an electric powertrain. It competes with various electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model 3, Genesis GV60, and Kia EV6. Despite its mostly conservative design choices, the i4 stands out as a fresh offering from BMW due to its electric drivetrain. If you can overlook its front-end styling, the i4 offers a compelling mix of performance, technology, and features, all while remaining environmentally friendly with zero emissions.

One of the most contentious styling elements of the i4 is its large kidney grille dominating the front fascia. This design choice has received mixed reviews and appears oversized and out of place, especially on a vehicle of this size. The grille, although solid, serves no significant cooling function, leaving many questioning its purpose. The M50 models feature more appealing aesthetics with additional vents and shapes on the lower fascia that help divert attention from the oversized grille. Opting for darker exterior colors can also help mitigate the visual impact of the grille, but brighter hues only emphasize its prominent presence.

The eDrive35 and eDrive40 models are rear-wheel drive with a single motor, while the M50 boasts all-wheel drive with two motors. The i4’s acceleration capabilities are impressive, and its low center of gravity enhances its handling and balance. The M50 models offer a boost function that delivers a noticeable surge of power when activated.

While the eDrive35 has not been tested, it features a smaller 70.2-kWh battery (66 kWh usable) paired with a single motor producing 281 hp, achieving a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds. The eDrive40, equipped with a single motor generating 335 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The M50, on the other hand, boasts two motors producing a combined 536 hp and 586 lb-ft, allowing it to reach 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds.

The M50 achieves its peak power output in boost mode, accessible only when the vehicle is in Sport mode. This temporary mode lasts for 10 seconds but can be engaged multiple times consecutively. While the M50 may not deliver the immediate acceleration punch of a Tesla, it offers ample speed and maintains its power seamlessly at higher speeds, enabling confident corner exits without compromising the i4’s stability.

Positioned low in the chassis, the i4’s battery contributes to a stable driving experience by lowering the center of gravity. The standard rear air suspension with self-leveling capabilities reduces pitch and roll, enhancing agility. M50 models feature an adaptive suspension with multiple settings, seamlessly transitioning between comfort and sportiness as desired. The i4 displays excellent handling characteristics, responding promptly to driver inputs.

In terms of safety technology, the i4 offers several features, with some available as optional upgrades. As of now, the i4 has not undergone crash testing by the IIHS or NHTSA, pending official safety ratings. Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, front and rear parking sensors, and lane-departure warnings. Optional safety features comprise adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, active lane control, and a surround-view camera system.

The choice of wheels significantly impacts the i4’s range. The eDrive40 achieves a maximum range of 301 miles, but this figure is based on 18-inch wheels; opting for larger 19-inch wheels reduces the range to 282 miles. On 18-inch wheels, the iDrive35 is estimated to cover 260 miles on a single charge. The M50, equipped with standard 19-inch wheels, offers a range of 270 miles, which decreases to 227 miles with the 20-inch wheels fitted with summer tires.

The eDrive40 achieves an efficiency of 3.2 miles per kWh on 18-inch wheels, diminishing to 2.9 miles per kWh with 19-inch wheels. The M50 exhibits a steeper decrease in efficiency, dropping from 2.8 to 2.3 miles per kWh. The eDrive40 delivers a combined MPGE rating of 109/99, whereas the M50 achieves 96/80 MPGE. While the i4’s range places it competitively, it falls short of the Tesla Model 3, which offers 358 miles of range and a combined MPGE rating of 131 for its long-range model.

Internally, the i4 garners positive feedback. The layout of the two displays placed side by side atop the dashboard imparts a futuristic feel, although reaching the far side of the screen may be challenging. A small controller located beside the drive selector serves as a backup for operating the infotainment system. The i4 boasts premium materials and excellent build quality, setting it apart from competitors such as the Model 3 in terms of interior refinement.

Accessing the rear cargo area is convenient, thanks to the power liftgate. Unlike the 4-Series, the i4 is available exclusively in a four-door configuration with five seats and a liftgate for easy trunk access. The i4 earns praise for its exceptional front seats and high-quality interior; however, rear-seat space may be limited for taller passengers due to reduced headroom. Additionally, a noticeable floor hump and restricted space under the front seats may pose challenges when accommodating three adults in the rear for extended journeys.

The i4 excels in offering an array of standard features and optional upgrades. It shares the same warranty and free scheduled maintenance as its gasoline counterparts, with an added incentive of two years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions with Electrify America. For those prioritizing value, the eDrive35 at $52,395 offers a compelling option, while the eDrive40, starting at $56,895, presents better efficiency and range compared to the dual-motor M50, which begins at $68,295, but the price can escalate to around $85,000 with various customization options.

BMW’s new i4 stays true to its heritage of delivering a stellar sport sedan with exceptional on-road behavior, now enhanced with electric propulsion. Although utilizing an existing platform, the i4 delivers a satisfying driving experience. It stands out as the ideal electric sport sedan for daily use, injecting joy into every drive. The choice between the eDrive40 for better range or the M50 for exhilarating performance ultimately boils down to personal driving preferences. Whether you seek extended range or thrilling acceleration, the i4 guarantees a delightful driving experience.

Image Source: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

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