As a brand new model, BMW’s all-electric i4 includes the German marque’s first electric performance vehicle. There are two models – the eDrive40 and M50 – harnessing the latest-generation eDrive motor/charging/battery system. The i4 is available nationally.
Choosing Your BMW i4
The i4 range comprises just two models, with the i4 eDrive40 starting at $56,395 including destination, while the M Sport pack costs $2,400 as a standalone option. The high-performance M50 retails at $66,895.
The standard i4’s solitary electric motor generates 335 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, supplied to the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy on 18-inch wheels stands at 109 miles per gallon city, 108 mpg highway, and 109 combined, but upgrading to the M Sport package’s 19-inch wheels knocks 10 mpg off all these figures.
The M50 ups its power to 536 HP and 586 lb-ft, with two motors feeding their power to all four wheels. Economy stands at 94/98/96 mpg on 19-inch wheels, and specifying larger 20-inch rims slashes economy to 79/80/80 mpg respectively.
|Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)
|109/108/109 mpg (18-inch wheels)
|94/98/96 mpg (19-inch wheels)
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
Cargo capacity for the five-seater i4 sedan stands at 10 cu ft with the rear seats in place.
There are roughly 40 driver assistance technologies available on the i4, with every model receiving blind spot detection and lane departure warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts and collision mitigation braking alongside pedestrian detection. The windows and moonroof will automatically close if an accident is presumed to be imminent, while acoustic protection lets pedestrians know a silent vehicle is approaching.
Automatic lights and wipers are other standard features alongside dynamic cruise control, but you’ll have to add an optional package to benefit from traffic jam assistance or active lane keeping.
The i4 features the eighth generation of BMW’s iDrive control system, allied to a fully digital display combining 12.3-inch information and 14.9-inch control screens into a single bank of glass angled towards the driver. BMW continues to prioritize Apple CarPlay over Android Auto, but both are present wirelessly. The stock stereo is a ten-speaker 205-watt affair, while an optional 464-watt Harman Kardon surround sound system employs 16 speakers and a seven-channel amp.
BMW’s standard Intelligent Personal Assistant can learn certain actions on a familiar route such as lowering the window at a ticket booth, offering to automatically do this in future when it reaches the relevant GPS coordinates. Disappointingly for such a high-end vehicle, features like wireless device charging and a head-up display are only available through the options list.
The eDrive40 is as connected and automated as you’d expect from a high-end electric vehicle, with keyless entry and a power tailgate alongside full smartphone compatibility and that stunning single-pane glass display unit. The power sports front seats are clad in perforated SensaTec, while the steering wheel is a sports leather affair. A moonroof illuminates a cabin featuring dual-zone climate, a suite of automatically dimming mirrors, satellite radio and navigation.
Spending $2,400 on the M Sport pack brings economy-ruining 19-inch M wheels and an M-badged steering wheel, plus dynamic exterior trim. A more sensible upgrade might be the $950 Premium Package, blending a heated steering wheel and front seats with four-way power lumbar for the driver and ambient cabin lighting. The $1,700 Driving Assistance Professional Package delivers partly automated driving in certain environments, and the $1,750 Dynamic Handling Package combines adaptive suspension and a rear spoiler with M Sport brakes capped with either red or blue calipers.
Riding on imposing black 19-inch double-spoke alloy wheels and performance tires, the M50 is distinguished by a body kit, M sport brakes with blue calipers, and adaptive suspension. Inside, you’ll find an M steering wheel with variable sport adjustment and a Sport Boost function to increase power output to its 536 hp maximum.
The Premium and Driving Assistance Professional Packages remain identically priced from eDrive40 models. An array of standalone options includes a head-up display ($1,000), front ventilated seats ($350), heated front seats ($500), and a Harman Kardon surround sound system ($875).
Although the M50’s performance is stunning, it’s hard to justify its $10,500 premium over the standard i4, whose own turn of speed will be a revelation to anyone unfamiliar with supercars or high-end EVs.