What’s the BMW i4 like inside?
Anything Mercedes can do; BMW wants to do better.
Benz pioneered the side-by-side screen approach and Beemer’s take on it is just as impressive. The driver’s display is a 12.3-inch high-definition panel, while the infotainment screen stretches to 14.9 inches.
They’re visually impressive, though the passenger’s view does include the brace attaching them to the dash, which detracts a touch from the premium look.
BMW’s latest version of its software system, dubbed iDrive 8.0, powers the plethora of functions. They’ll take a while to sort through, but basic functionality is easy to pick up and the rotary controller is still the best in the business and makes navigation a frustration-free operation.
The head-up display is another quality touch that provides all the information drivers need without being too distracting.
Leather upholstery is standard and the entry car uses a 10-speaker sound system, with the M50 picking up a 16-speaker Harmon/Kardon set-up.
The outboard rear seats are well cushioned and bolstered, though the sloping roof does put taller occupants in close proximity to the headliner.
One of the few areas where the i4’s compromised origins as an internal combustion-engined car can be found is the tunnel that would normally house the driveshaft. It’s redundant on the i4 and only serves to restrict legroom for whichever individual has to endure that position. It does, however, house the vents and controls for the rear air-con, along with a pair of USB ports.
Press the button to open the powered tailgate and there’s a commodious 470 litres of boot space. The 40:20:40 folding rear seat then allows longer items to be easily accommodated.
What’s powering the BMW i4?
The eDrive40 has a 250kW/430Nm electric motor turning the rear wheels, with a claimed driving range of 520km. BMW says energy usage is 22.2kWh/100km
The M50 uses dual motors to power all four wheels with a combined 350kW/730Nm, though those figures can rise to 400kW/795Nm in10-second bursts. Energy use is a claimed 25.6kWh/100km, giving a range of 465km.
The battery pack in both cases is an 84kWh lithium-ion unit with 81kWh of usable charge.
You won’t be recharging too regularly at home off a standard power point. BMW quotes seven hours off a 10-amp household connection put 100km of range into the i4. Buy the 11kW BMW Wallbox and the time drops to just under 90 minutes, providing your home supports a 16-amp supply.
Head to a ChargeFox DC recharging station (and it’s free for the first five years) an a 100km top-up will take around five minutes off an ultra-rapid charger, or around 20 minutes off a 50kW unit.