It has big opponents, the BMW i4: When it comes to numbers, the Tesla Model 3, when it comes to sportiness, the Porsche Taycan. The first electric sedan from the Munich-based company will arrive at Austrian dealerships on February 26, 2022, and “Krone” engine editor Stephan Schätzl has already been able to drive the particularly sporty M version on Bavarian roads. His impressions here in the video!
The i4 looks like a 4 Series Gran Coupé – no wonder, because it is essentially a 4 Series Gran Coupé. Length and width (4.78 meters long, 1.85 meters wide) practically correspond to the current 4 Series Coupé, but with a height of 1.45 meters, the i4 towers over the Coupé by seven centimeters. The substructure comes from the combustion colleagues, but was not converted to electric, but was intended for it from the start. But despite all the similarity, they differ more than you can tell.
Because of the significantly higher weight due to the battery, the Munich-based company made the whole vehicle stronger and stiffer, and the whole rear end is completely different from the 4-series combustion engine. This was necessary to enable the performance, road holding and traction that the developers had in mind. The result is impressive.
Power or range?
Likewise the drive. The BMW i4 M50, the top version of the four-door model, is powered by two synchronous motors that together provide up to 400 kW / 544 hp and 795 Nm, at least in the sportiest driving mode. The 2215 kg heavy all-wheel drive vehicle sprints to 100 km / h in 3.9 seconds, and the speed limit is 225 km / h. The battery in the vehicle floor (capacity 80.7 kWh net) ensures a center of gravity 34 mm lower than that of a normal 3-series BMW and a WLTP range of 510 kilometers (in the basic i4 eDrive40 model, only the rear axle is driven instead of both axles, where a single The engine has an output of 250 kW / 340 PS. The WLTP range here is 590 kilometers).
The acoustics of the engines are practically imperceptible even under full load. Optionally, you can have sounds created by film music composer Hans Zimmer play, depending on the driving mode and driving condition.
The driving performance is impressive, at least with the optional 20-inch wheels with mixed tires (255/285) tested here. An adaptive M chassis is standard in the M50. The so-called “actuator-related wheel slip limitation” (introduced with the BMW i3, further developed since then), which is also used for all-wheel drive for the first time, ensures incredibly fast DSC control and drive force distribution. The i4 M50 hooks like a weasel on request. The real feeling of the steering still has some room for improvement.
The interior is not fundamentally different from the classic brothers, but in the details it is very different. A curved display (= a curved screen) combines a 12.3-inch speedometer screen and a 14.9-inch touchscreen into one large one, there are almost no control buttons anymore, pretty much everything has moved into the display, also the climate control. The operating unit with iDrive controller and the usual buttons around it, however, are retained, as is the volume control below the display. The new BMW Operating System 8 has lost its clarity compared to the previous version. In addition, the air conditioning compressor can no longer be switched off, so the air is always conditioned unless the system is switched off completely. However, this function will be submitted via over-the-air update in summer 2022.
The M50’s battery is charged with a maximum of 205 kW at the quick charging station. In the best case, it takes 31 minutes until the charge level has increased from 10 to 80 percent. A range of up to 140 kilometers can be refueled in ten minutes. With alternating current it is a maximum of 11 kW, so the battery is completely full again after well over eight hours.
Air suspension as standard
The elaborate i4 chassis consists of a double-joint spring strut front axle and a five-link rear axle with stroke-dependent shock absorbers and rear-axle air suspension. The M50 is also equipped with an adaptive M suspension, variable sports steering and the M sports brake system.
The whole appearance of the M50 is sportier, and there is also an optional carbon exterior package. On the other hand, the i4 is also very sensible: 470 to 1290 liters fit in the trunk and with the optional electrically foldable trailer coupling you can pull trailers weighing up to 1600 kg.
The prices: 57,900 euros for the base model, 69,800 euros for the BMW i4 M50.