Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
At the moment, the BMW i4 range is refreshingly straightforward. The entry level is the rear-wheel-drive, single-motor eDrive40, which produces 335bhp, sprints from 0-62mph in 5.7sec and has an official range of 367 miles.
Those figures show that the eDrive40 is a little slower than the Tesla Model 3 Long Range but can go a bit further on a charge. Then there's the four-wheel-drive, dual-motor M50 model with its 536bhp, 3.9sec 0-62mph time, and 318-mile range – a little way short of the Model 3 Performance in both areas.
Even in its most focused Sport mode, there's more body lean than you get in a Model 3 Performance, despite the standard adaptive M suspension (which is optional on the eDrive40 as part of the M Sport Pro Pack),
It doesn’t feel particularly nimble through quick direction changes, either. This is mainly due to the fact that the M50 weighs at least 350kg more than the Model 3 Performance. In fact, the lighter eDrive40 (with its single motor) feels a touch more agile.
The i4 does hold a significant advantage over the Model 3 when it comes to refinement. At a cruise, road and wind noise is minimal – something that can’t be said for the rather noisy Model 3 – and at lower speeds there is virtually no motor whine. The M50 is a little more supple than the eDrive40 but both ride impressively well.
The brakes deserve a special mention for being far less grabby than those of most electric cars, making it easy to slow down smoothly. The i4’s well-implemented regenerative braking system, which harvests energy that would otherwise be wasted when you brake, can take credit for that.
The braking system has an Adaptive mode that uses data from the navigation system and onboard sensors to judge when is best to increase the regenerative effect. For example, when you’re on an open and clear road and lift off the accelerator, the car will coast along as normal, but if a bend or lower speed limit is coming up, it will slow down you to an appropriate speed.