This week we are reviewing the BMW i4 M50. Our vehicle was assembled at the Munich plant in Germany with an MSRP of CAD $87,870.77.
The BMW i4 is BMWs first attempt at a full BEV in line with other products in their lineup. While the i3 and i8, both discontinued, were often more expensive with their lightweight carbon fibre chassis, BMW has tackled this differently with the i4, sharing the manufacturing on the same assembly line as the internal combustion and plug-in hybrid version. Thus, the i4 is almost a bargain within the BMW lineup when considering the performances hidden underneath.
Tesla took inspiration from BMW's 3 series, then the most sold luxury sedan, before launching the Model 3. Until now, BMW didn't have a response to the Model 3. The BMW alternative was the 330e, a plug-in hybrid for those who might still have range anxiety. With the i4, BMW now has a more enjoyable competitor.
Fun Factor: 9
The first question that might pop into your mind is; was BMW able to satisfy the enthusiast with the BMW i4? And, I can gladly say yes! The M50 xDrive fully deserves that M badge. Acceleration is astonishing; BMW announces 3.9 seconds to 100km/h; we were able to reproduce these numbers in a real-life environment easily. It's impressive, especially since it matches some full-blown M models. It also handles quite well around corners, better than other EVs in this price segment, naturally, without taking a jab at the Model 3 directly. The only negative aspect of the i4 is that it feels heavy. The easiest way to describe it is that it can feel like an X3 or even X5 suspension-wise. Meaning the ride is very soft for a Sports vehicle. (Adaptive suspension with M-specific setup).
Can it Family: 6
It may not look like it, but the i4 is a 5-door hatchback, making it versatile and practical to carry oversized items. BMW hasn't done anything funky in the cabin; if you have been into other BMWs, you'll feel at home quickly. The seats are moulded to provide a sporty experience. The downside with the platform used is the legroom available for passengers in the back and the headroom due to the coupe styling; let's not forget the transmission tunnel cutting the legroom for the middle passenger. Those seats are best left for kids. The i4 is a hatchback; it's practical to fit larger items and will wonderfully fit strollers without the high loading floor of some SUVs. Lastly, the back row gets two USB-c ports making your vehicle future-proof for your little one's gadgets.
The electric announced consumption of the i4 is; City 22.3 kWh/100km, Hwy 21.4 kWh/100km and Combined 21.9 kWh/100km. 435 km is the announced range when equipped with 19-inch wheels, and it drops to 365 km when you wish to rock 20-inch wheels. The energy consumption we saw in the city was 20.5 kWh/100km. During our week of testing, we drove over 500km and averaged 23.7 kWh/100km. Our vehicle was equipped with 19-inch wheels. During our test, outside temperatures oscillated between -2C and +13C.
The seat's unparalleled comfort is the strong point of the i4. BMW hasn't cut corners or tried to compromise comfort. Sadly, the semi-autonomous driving isn't on par with BMW standards; we have seen better results in the non-electric version of their lineup. What does improve the driving experience is the heads-up display which shows not only the speed, it gives GPS guidance using the integrated GPS, and the best is that you can see the name of the song on your favourite playlist; all that without taking your eye off the road.
Karaoke Friendly: 9
BMW has chosen none other than Harman Kardon to enhance the experience inside the i4. The 17-speaker system sounds rich and enhances the bass to make any trip enjoyable. BMW has also chosen to give its vehicles a distinctive sound while accelerating. Some may enjoy the sound as it provides a sensation of connection with the car. Others may find it less enjoyable as it may mimic the sounds of gas engines. On the flip side, you can turn these sounds off to your liking. Now to the infotainment, it's a massive 14.9-inch curved display that almost feels connected to the 12.3-inch digital cluster. BMW has implemented the iDrive 8; it feels like a natural evolution of the previous generation if fast and responsive. It removes some of the user-friendliness we had accustomed to in exchange for a more futuristic look. Customizing the screen is almost endless; you can choose the type of tiles shown on the main screen and even delete them if they're not needed. And it does keep a nice balance of touch screen and physical buttons, except for the climate controls. You can adjust the temperatures inside the screen; for other minor adjustments, the climate menu must be pressed and requires a moment of inattention to change these while driving. The same goes for the cooled and heated seats. The volume, song skipping, and front and rear defogger have physical buttons.
The back doors do not open very wide; getting a car seat inside the vehicle is a little challenging and may take some acrobatics. Once inside, the ISOFIX ports are easy to find and latch. Where it will become problematic is the room available for the passenger in the front or your child's feet in the back. In the case of a rear-facing seat, the passenger in front will need to slide forward to the position of someone under 5ft6. With the upright position of the rear seats, some car seats may not have a perfect fit either. And finally, our toddler had his feet completely squished in the back. As for kids getting into the vehicle, the door handles have a slick and aerodynamic look. They are easy to operate and do not pose a hazard to kids, nor will you have trouble opening the door in the winter. As mentioned before, the door opening is small and will require the full door to be extended for kids to jump in. This may pose an issue while parking in tight places.
City Cruising: 10
BMW has intelligently integrated the rear camera inside the BMW logo, giving it a slicker look.
Great rear view camera; a 3D view of the vehicle is also available, and it matches the vehicle's colour. Having the capability to drive back to the same spot you drove in with the backup assistance is a fantastic feature, especially if you have to go through narrow underground parking lots. The i4 soft suspension makes it ideal for city driving; it doesn't feel like a sports car at all over bumps. The best way we can explain it, in simple terms, is that driving dynamics are similar to a sports car, but driving comfort resembles an SUV.
Why would we buy the 2022 BMW i4, or what we like?
The instant acceleration and the steering are excellent and quick. The range is reasonable on smaller tires or the RWD version. Finally, an actual electric vehicle from BMW resembles other BMWs in their lineup. It can change lanes on its own. Powerful M50 has xDrive (AWD).
Why would we not buy the 2022 BMW i4, or what did we not like about it? No heated seats for the back passengers in a premium vehicle in 2022?
The vehicle's weight is hard to hide and removes some of its sporty feelings; the back seats aren't made for adults. Larger tires will reduce the range; however, it is interesting that BMW is honest about these figures. Our test model had excessive wear and tear on the door frames, which you want to keep an eye on when purchasing this vehicle.
BMW has lent us this vehicle as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with BMW Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion.