The car I’ve had the pleasure of driving this month is the all-new electric BMW i4.
Looking at the car, it looks like any other 4 Series. I drove the i4 M50 which has been worked on by the M division.
With that motorsport heritage behind you, it’s no wonder the car is excellent to drive. It’s as quick as an M3 to 60mph but its top speed is limited to 140mph.
Two electric motors pump out 544bhp to all four wheels and the car has a very impressive 790nm of torque – in a nutshell, the car is very quick indeed. And, when you consider it runs on battery power, it makes it all the more mind-boggling.
If you have been fortunate enough to drive an electric car, you’ll know only too well just how rapid these cars are off the mark.
Boy racers don’t stand a chance with you at traffic lights – the only advantage they have is being able to rev their car engines.
All you can do is listen to the lovely engine, but you have the last laugh when they eat your dust.
Driving an electric car makes you realise a combustion engine definitely isn’t the future as they take a little while to warm up and the power delivery isn’t as instantaneous as with an electric car.
On cold days, electric cars lose their advantage though. The batteries really struggle in the cold and something simple like putting the heating on uses valuable battery power.
You find yourself changing the way you drive altogether, opening the windows instead of using the air con and using the brake regeneration.
This is further helped by using the B section on the gearbox which really takes the brake regeneration to another level.
The batteries have a much better range in summer or warmer weather. With our recent heatwave, battery life has been great, but you will have to use the air con, which unfortunately will have implications for the range of the car.
Getting back to the car. I’m starting to get used to the radical BMW kidney grille at the front of the car, which doesn’t have the usual vents for the engine as they aren’t needed.
The car has beautiful wing mirrors that are also found on the M3, along with M divine seat belts and steering wheel.
I love the carbon fibre all over the dash, but the best bit has to be the curved glass panel, half of which houses the iDrive features and the other half has the speedo etc.
It really oozes class and the resolution of the screen is similar to 4KHD picture quality. It is right up there with the best from Mercedes and Audi and, in my humble opinion, is actually better.
As you’d expect, the car has wireless charging, laser LED headlights, cameras all over and some of the smartest-looking 20” M design alloys.
The car shares its chassis with the 3 Series, but you’d only be aware as the rear seating area has a hump in the middle of the floor where the prop shaft would normally go.
With a bespoke electric car chassis, it is typically flat.
The batteries are under the floor and thankfully the car very much feels like a BMW to drive as it has a 50/50 weight distribution. This is despite the car being very heavy due to the batteries.
The 80kw battery will take at least 13 hours to charge using a 7w home charger. Using a supercharger brings these charging times down substantially.
When fully charged the car is supposed to have a 300-mile range. Speaking from experience and using the air con, you’ll more realistically get around 250 miles.
Driving the car in sport mode will definitely have an impact on the car’s range. It is much more fun to drive in this mode, especially along country and twisty roads.
Hans Zimmer has developed a special soundtrack for the car. I’ve got to say it was all a bit gimmicky for me; nothing beats the sound of a good V8 engine in my books!
As the garage will vouch, I actually didn’t want to give the car back. It did go back a day later than it should have and it was desperate for a charge as I found myself making any excuse to take the car out for a drive.
If you are in the market for an electric car, the i4 makes a very good argument for owning one. If you want an M50, you’ll be waiting until the end of 2023 before you get your hands on one.
So, don’t delay, get down to BMW Vertu and get your deposit down, as the list will only get longer and longer.
The i4 is priced from £52,000 and the car I drove is priced from £64,000. Car supplied by Vertu BMW Boldon.