BMW’s New EV Outguns Its Gas Lineup
- Trim Tested: i4 M50
- Price as Tested: $78,520 (including destination charge)
- What We Like: Power
- What We Don’t: Rear seat space; interior design
Want an M3 but cheaper, faster, and better for the planet? Meet the i4 M50, a 536-horsepower sport sedan that costs $67,000 – that’s 33 horsepower more and $7,000 less than an M3 Competition (before the federal EV tax credit).
How It Drives
Acceleration in the i4 M50 is phenomenal. The massive amount of torque available from a standstill makes the i4 M50 feel more powerful than any gasoline BMW, none of which delivers the immediate, neck-straining thrust the i4 can. However, rather than revel in the i4’s obvious superiority over its gasoline siblings, BMW has tried to make the M50 mimic the audio cues of a gas model by playing performance noises over the speakers. If you find them silly, like I do, take comfort in the fact that they can be turned off.
Handling doesn’t feel as responsive as in a gasoline BMW – the i4 weighs too much to be nimble. The brakes feel less responsive, too, although we liked how one-pedal driving was possible when we switched the gear selector to “B.”
Make sure to turn on Sport Mode when you test drive the i4. Because so much of the i4’s behavior is the result of computer programming, Sport Mode makes a big difference. The screens turn red, the suspension stiffens up, and the throttle response becomes hair-trigger sharp.
The M50 we drove is the more expensive of the two i4 models available. The entry-level i4 – if you can call $56,000 entry-level – is the eDrive40, which makes do with 335 horsepower, albeit with 31 additional miles of range.
Range is so-so in the i4 M50 – under 300 miles isn’t as impressive as it used to be. (Shoppers should note that wheel choice matters: M50s with 19-inch wheels get 270 miles; M50s with 20-inch wheels get 227.) Thankfully, 200-kW DC fast charging is available. Provided you can find a working charger with that kind of power, it adds up to 97 miles of range in 10 mins.
Interior Comfort & Quality
In the cabin of the i4, there is a lot of shiny black trim and silver plastic made to look like brushed aluminum. The cabins of Audis and Mercedes seem nicer, though there are little touches – such as the blue start button – that are fun.
There is good room on the firm, well-bolstered seats up front. BMW is one of the few brands with a steering wheel that telescopes far enough to accommodate a driver with long legs. The back seat has OK legroom, though the sloping roof cuts into headroom.
The i4 shares its styling with the 4 Series Gran Coupe (basically a 3 Series sedan with a lower, sleeker roofline). That means the cargo area is shallow and long. A built-in cover hides items from prying eyes. The i4 can haul extra stuff with the cover removed, although that will cut into the already-limited view out the back.
Technology & Usability
The centerpiece of the i4’s cabin is the big, curved panel mounted high on the dashboard that houses a 14.9-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge. They run the latest version of BMW’s infotainment system, iDrive 8. It has sleek graphics, though it is still complicated to use while driving. The touchscreen is a far reach from the driver’s seat, but the system has retained the big knob that has been in BMWs for the past two decades, allowing drivers to select on-screen items without leaning forward in their seat. Wireless Android Auto and a nifty suite of advanced driver assist systems (including automated parking and automated low-speed driving) round out the tech offerings.
Read our full 2022 BMW i4 review for more specs and information about the entire i4 lineup. Carfax vehicle reviews let shoppers compare a vehicle’s specs against its competitors. However, some aspects of a vehicle – performance, comfort, usability – can only be evaluated through actual driving. That’s why we evaluate as many vehicles as we can, so you’ll know what to expect.
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