BMW i4 (2021) review: car news
M50 version tested up to 537bhp
► 318 miles driving range possible
0-62mph in 3.9 seconds
It’s been a long time coming, but BMW has now finally started kicking the combustion engines from the core of its model range. While this new i4 may not be a fairly electric 3-Series, some of you are probably crying based on the same body-in-white as the 4-Series Gran Coupe means you get an equal degree of practicality for passengers with a swoopier roof and a hatchback tailgate.
What’s more, BMW has gone for a straight throat here. When you buy a 335bhp i4 eDrive40 model with a motor and rear-wheel drive, the car we are testing – also available from the launch – i4 M50, a 537bhp twin-motor all-wheel drive machine is the first all-electric M-car will.
Move on to M3 and M4?
Not quite. Although the i4 M50 is more powerful – and certainly more muscular, with a stonking 586lb ft available immediately – it weighs about 300kg. Thus, when it is easily combined (503bhp, 479lb ft) during the 3.9sec 0-62mph of the M4 competition, visually and dynamically it is more than a fully developed M3 replacement of an M-Performance model.
i4 Rear static
In fact, the range of chassis talent deployed here is quite a few. On the following – fast – BMW IX tire tracks, the I4M50 offers exceptional comfort and refinement, if you want to take advantage of it. Yet the M-Specific Variable Damping Control (VDC) shock absorber and variable-ratio steering razor can serve bright cornering talents effortlessly without the need for edges.
Does it use the same technology as IX?
The i4 does without the fancy part-carbon construction of the IX, but takes full advantage of the same Zen5 BMW electric drive technology.
This means a clever electromagnet motor and a state-of-the-art, high-density battery, working together with a highly integrated control system that covers everything from deploying electrical power across both axes of the i4 M50 to stopping the car. Uses a seamless combination of recovery and friction braking.
bmw i4 interior
It’s not as big as a battery pack like the iX xDrive50 and as a result the i4 M50 has a short 318-mile WLTP driving range of 62-miles. However it can be charged up to 300kg lighter, 205kW DC – which gives you an 80% increase in 31 minutes, although luckily a juicy charger can be found in the UK – and its power and torque are a bit higher.
You’ll also notice the same dual-screen BMW curved display setup at the top of the dashboard একই the same BMW operating system 8 with iDrive infotainment, enhanced NAV, and situational awareness.
After all, the i4 is cheaper than the IX. And although that still means 63,905 transfers for the M50, it still represents a strong £ 30k savings over the punchiest iX model so far. A simple reduction, given a lot of basic technology is the same.
How does it feel to drive I4 M50?
Massively impressive, which is to say it is quite an all-rounder.
Performance nuts, that dazzling responsive electric car way. You won’t get the full 537bhp and 586lb ft all the time-the default output is a mere 476hp and 538lb ft, the whole hack has been unlocked using the Sport Boost function which is featured as an add-on in regular Sport mode. But regardless of the setting, stab the accelerator and the i4 M50 responds with the kind of instantaneous pressure that makes you think of computer games. The Hans Zimmer soundtrack only enhances this impression, especially since it’s particularly loud here, thanks to the M-specific remix. You can turn off the words completely if you wish, but they actually work amazingly well.
i4 Front end tracking
Less expected than pointing the nose of the i4 M50 towards the sky standing on the right paddle. In fact, the effect is so ridiculous that you would almost wonder if it was done intentionally. But BMW claims that it is deploying the M50 with such little fanfare just because of the perfect amount of torque – and has nothing to do with being equipped with air springs instead of conventional steel coils on the back of the car that is still used at the front.
It is very unusual to see this combination in a performance car সাধারণত usually the rear air is used for self-leveling in fancy estates. Together with the VDC, it gives the i4 M50 a really great level of comfort, even if you insist on traveling everywhere in the sport.
A side effect of this comfort seems to be a noticeable amount of lateral weight transfer in the early corners. Give it time, though, and you’ll realize that it’s really caused by the car driving a little too much, probably due to the M50’s variable-ratio steering. There are some moments on the way to the test where the front of the i4 seems to be moving from the back, turning with the pressure towards the entrance in a way that looks suspiciously like an underside. Yet there are other occasions when the i4 hooks through a sequence of turns perfectly feels like you’re experiencing some sort of automatic epiphany – and these heights will soon surpass those initial impressions.
i4 side pan
After all, traction is otherwise infinite, thanks to the speed the two motors can change the balance of front and rear. And the center of gravity is 37mm less than the 3-Series, thanks to the huge battery pack at the bottom of the car. Pouched at 22 points with the front subframe tied – the pack helps to firmly support the structure of the i4 which surpasses petrol and diesel models using the same basic body. The I4 benefits from additional reinforcement in other areas, including the front strut brace on the M50, plus a wider track and modified front suspension geometry.
On top of everything else, some 40 driver support technologies are available, a wide array of options, and much more can come through over-the-air updates. For the most part, the i4 is a state-of-the-art electric vehicle experience similar to the IX, wrapped in much less controversial packaging.
In terms of performance, comfort, driving range and affordability, it’s hard to imagine how BMW can’t be a winner here. Unless you expect a truly electric M4, the i4 M50 is probably a touch very round and humble.