What Car? says...
Thinking about going electric but don’t want to shout it from the rooftops? Well, the BMW i4 could be the car for you.
While BMW’s first electric car, the outlandish-looking BMW i3, was designed from the ground up to run on electricity, the i4 looks like what it essentially is: an electric version of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.
Both i4 models use a sizeable 83.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack that BMW has somehow managed to shoehorn under the floor. Not that you can tell it’s packing such impressive electric tech from the outside – aside from a solid plastic grille, aerodynamic alloy wheels and a smattering of blue highlights, there isn’t much to mark out the i4 as an EV.
The M50 version is distinguished by performance-inspired design cues similar to BMW’s ICE performance cars, including extra air intakes for the brakes, a subtle rear spoiler and what BMW calls ‘exhaust tailpipes’.
Stay with us over the next few pages of this review and we’ll delve even deeper into the details of the BMW i4, helping you decide whether you should consider buying one.
We'll cover the i4's performance, interior quality, electric range, runnings and more. We'll also let you know how it compares with its rival cars in the large electric category.
When you've decided which make and model of car you're going to buy, you could put one on your driveway for thousands of pounds less by searching the best prices on our free What Car? New Car Buying service.
The i4 is too new to have featured in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey, but BMW finished a respectable 13th out of 30 brands in the manufacturer table, beating Tesla (15th), Audi (18th), Jaguar (21st) and Mercedes (joint 22nd). The only premium brand that did better than BMW was Lexus, in first place. Read more here
In range-topping M50 form, the i4 has an official range of 318 miles, while the cheaper eDrive40 can officially manage 367. In our 2022 summer range test, an eDrive40 went 316 miles on a single charge in real-world driving conditions. Read more here
The eDrive40 produces 335bhp and feels properly punchy, so we’d stick with that version, rather than paying the (significant) premium required to get the range-topping M50. Our recommended trim is M Sport with the Pro Pack, which gets you adaptive suspension that can be softened or stiffened to suit the conditions. Read more here
The entry-level Sport spec includes climate control, cruise control, a reversing camera and a 14.9in infotainment screen. If you upgrade to pricier M Sport, you also get sportier styling cues inside and out, which are likely to be good for resale values. Read more here
In its fastest – M50 – form, the i4 can accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.9sec, while the less powerful eDrive40 officially takes 5.7sec. For comparison, the Tesla Model 3 Performance gets from 0-60mph in 3.3sec. Read more here
The i4’s boot has a 470-litre capacity and our road testers managed to fit in eight carry-on suitcases. It also has underfloor storage for your charging cables. The Tesla Model 3’s rear boot is 425 litres, but it also has a second load bay under the bonnet, giving it space for 10 carry-on cases in total. Read more here