Engine: Dual all-electric motors with high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack
EPA ratings: 79/city, 80/highway, 80/combined
Base price: $65,900
As tested: $77,070
Overview: The BMW i4 is an all-electric premium compact sports sedan. All new for the 2022 model year, it’s available in two versions. As the name suggests, the i4 electric BMW is part of the 4 Series lineup. This is the first time BMW has given the M designation to any of its electric vehicles (EVs). Our test driver was the M50 version, and this review focuses on that vehicle.
Walkaround: BMW calls the i4 a gran coupe, meaning it’s a four-door sedan. The body sports various blue lines and highlights to signify electric power, as well as a special grille treatment. The M50 gets its own exterior treatments, including side vents to help keep the brakes cool and a model-specific rear spoiler. Otherwise, the i4 looks like the rest of the 4 Series lineup. The signature grille doesn’t send cooling air to the electric drivetrain, but does accommodate the front-facing camera, plus ultrasonic and radar sensors. On either side of the grille are standard full-LED headlights. Our M50 test driver rolled on the optional 20-inch alloys — 19s are standard.
Interior: The i4 maintains that austere luxury interior look BMW has perfected over the years. The uncluttered dashboard showcases a standard dual-screen infotainment system and driver information display. The curved infotainment touchscreen is 14.9 inches while the driving instrumentation screen measures 12.3 inches. Sirius XM satellite radio; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; and a 10-speaker, 205-watt audio system are all part of the package, along with a navigation system showing nearby charging stations. Every i4 also comes with simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, three-zone automatic climate control, powered sunroof and LED cabin lighting. Real leather, rose gold interior accents, heated and ventilated front seats, a configurable head-up display, ambient cabin lighting and 464-watt Harman Kardon surround-sound system with 16 speakers are some of the more indulgent options available. The i4 and the new iX are the first two BMWs with 5G, which will allow over-the-air vehicle updates.
Behind the wheel: Our test driver, the all-wheel-drive (AWD) i4 M50, features 536 horses with launch control and an advertised 270-mile range. However, we rarely saw 220 during our weeklong test drive. The i4 boasts an almost-perfect 48.2/51.8 front-to-rear weight distribution, which is why BMW cars feel nimble and poised. The battery pack is located under the floor, lowering the center of gravity for extra handling stability, while the battery’s aluminum housing adds to the body’s rigidity. There’s also a sport boost function that can be used several times in a row, as long as the battery has enough charge, accessing the final 67 of those 536 horses. Selectable levels of brake energy regeneration give the i4 the capacity for one-pedal driving.
Bottom line: With a low center of gravity and a wide track, the BMW i4 M50 is a car that savors curvy blacktop and is quite comfortable over long distances. This car has everything — except the battery range needed to make it almost perfect.